Mama Duck
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Sunday, November 28, 2004
I'm moving. Virtually, this time. I haven't even unpacked all the boxes in our new old house, but I'm on the move again, this time to a new web address. Updating on two weblogs has been tough. Once I thought I needed to keep pop culture and pregnancy/parenthood separate. Silly Girl Detective. I now understand the wishful thinking of such a false dichotomy. As it says on the Dr. Bronner's bottle, it's All One. And now it's all one weblog at the all new
Girl Detective.

Thank you, and good night. I hope to see you there.

posted by Girl Detective6:48 PM


. . . . .
Friday, November 26, 2004
If you're going to be giving birth soon, I have two pieces of advice.

One, take it easy. Don't plan to work up till your due date; leave a week early. Put your feet up. Rest; take naps. Go to the movies. Watch TV and movies at home. Go out to eat at your favorite restaurants.

Two, keep an open mind once your birth experience begins. I was reluctant to take Pitocin for many reasons. I put it off for 18 hours after my water broke and contractions began. In retrospect, I wish I would have started it as soon as I got to the hospital. I know two women whose birth stories started similarly to mine, but had much easier progressions, probably due to their earlier starts on Pitocin. I know another woman who, like me, put off the Pitocin and had a long, difficult labor. As the midwife told me, contractions are contractions. They're hard whether they're natural or Pitocin-induced. What's important is progressing the labor. If you aren't progressing on your own, then you need help and it's best to get that as soon as you can.

posted by Girl Detective7:34 AM


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Wednesday, November 24, 2004
Several years ago, I was watching a mom's toddler so she could eat dinner at a party. I was carrying the little girl in my arms when she suddenly threw her arms around my neck and squeezed in an impromptu hug. The sudden wash of joy this caused was shocking. I thought, "This must be why people have kids."

Now, years later, the duck has recently begun to hug. For a very long time--over a year--he was not a very cuddly guy. His personality has not changed, but he had added the hugs to his repertoire, sprinkling them throughout the day like seasoning. If we are holding him, he will sometimes throw his arms around my neck and squeeze, and I am reminded of the lovely moment of that hug from that little girl. He will sometimes begin to wiggle up and down excitedly, as if he's trying to rev up. He will frequently toddle up to one of us and hug our legs. When we're on the floor during naked time, he will make a beeline and come right in for a hug.

They are so spontaneous, his little bursts of affection. And they astonish and gratify me each time they happen.

posted by Girl Detective7:13 AM


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Tuesday, November 23, 2004
We gave up on the diaper genie some time ago. It just couldn't begin to make a dent in the stinkiness of post-solid-food poopy diapers. Instead, we shuttle dirty diapers to the can by the back door, which we empty with some frequency into the bin by our garage.

On Monday, I was upstairs getting ready while the duck was in his "play area" (i.e. his cage) downstairs. I smelled poop and thought, did we forget and leave a diaper up here? Did I forget to flush the toilet? After a quick check, the answers were no and no. By this time, I noticed the smell less, figured I was imagining things, and finished getting ready.

When I went downstairs, though, I was hit by a poopy-smell wave. The duck had gone about the post-breakfast business of filling his diaper. I'd been able to smell it a floor away.

Never again will I doubt myself. When it comes to poopy diapers, at least.

posted by Girl Detective7:06 AM


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Monday, November 22, 2004
From his shelf of board and other smallish books, the duck selected The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey for me to read to him. My husband thinks this is not appropriate reading for one so young. I think it's just another alphabet book, with better illustrations than most.

My personal favorite is "N is for Neville, who died of ennui."

posted by Girl Detective7:22 AM


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Friday, November 19, 2004
The other day as we exited the house on our daily morning jaunt to the coffee shop, the duck and I heard noise down the street. There were several trucks parked around the electric pole at the end of our street, across from the park.

Usually, I take the stroller out of the house, strap the duck in and we merrily roll along to the coffee shop. Today, though, he was a baby on a mission. For the first time, he exited our front yard by himself, toddling about at the top, then getting into his backwards stair position to shimmy down the slight hill to the sidewalk. He then took off, bobbling quickly and purposefully down the sidewalk in the direction of the trucks, which was, to my chagrin, in the opposite direction of coffee. I watched him for a few moments, unworried because I'd tried to get him to walk the half-block to the park before without success--he was easily distracted, he sometimes fell, and sometimes started climbing stairs to neighbors' houses. Today, though, he got about halfway between me and the end of the block before I realized I better get moving. He was walking straight, quickly and confidently. Even over the most kitty-wompus bits of sidewalk he kept his balance and his forward momentum, bending his knees, pausing and then shooting off once he reached more level ground. Once we reached the trucks at the end of the street we simply stood and stared, he at the trucks, and me at him. He yelled and yodelled his excitement, and when his interest waned he let me bundle him into the stroller without protest so I could finally get my coffee.

posted by Girl Detective6:12 AM


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Thursday, November 18, 2004
Hey folks. I am editing the main page here so that the titles appear properly in those blog collector thingies--what are they called, aggregator feeds? In any case, the titles now appear correctly in my feed listing, but not at the blogspot itself. Is it my browser, or does this page no longer have titles for the entries?

I'm not going to futz with this too much, since BIG CHANGES are coming. Cue eerie music and maniacal laughter. Mwah, ha ha.

posted by Girl Detective11:08 AM


. . . . .
One of my very favorite things the duck does is something I call the Incredible Hulk Smile. He grins hugely while also (hence the name) holding out his arms and clenching his fists, a la Lou Ferrigno.

So imagine my delight the other day when he was eating lunch in his high chair and I said, "It's been a while since I've seen the Incredible Hulk Smile." And voila, he grinned, stuck out his arms and bunched up his fists.

I've got Incredible Hulk Smile on demand, people. This mother's mind boggles at my good fortune.

posted by Girl Detective5:48 AM


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Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Yesterday was great. The duck woke at 7:52 a.m. allowing me a nice cushion of time to myself in the morning so I could do my PT exercises (my right shoulder has been messed up since he was just a few weeks old--I've got curved-in mama shoulders), sit in front of my sun box, meditate with my finger labyrinth and write in my journal. He woke; we played. Then later, after lunch, I tried to convince him to go upstairs, but he wanted to play for a few minutes more, then he started upstairs on his own! Oh, how I love those moments, when he so clearly signals what he wants. Then he went to sleep quickly and slept for nearly two hours, allowing me to write blog entries and read those of other people. He woke; we read books. We also went to Target during which he was awfully screamy, then he refused to eat anything at dinner. But he did go to sleep quickly after a very noisy protest, after which I hammered out my 1700+ words for my
Nanowrimo goal, then went to watch TV and got in a chapter of my book before bed.

Today he woke early, screamed often and refused to go down for a nap until 3 p.m after which he slept for a bare forty minutes and woke screaming, unable to be appeased for twenty minutes until I got him out of the house and into the car on the way to the comic book store for new comic day. So no new blog entries till now, after I finally finished my very difficult word goal for the novel. But no meltdowns or crying on my part, so I was able to maintain some balance, perhaps because of the leftover goodwill from yesterday.

It's difficult to have a very hard day after a very good one; it feels especially unfair. But, as my father never hesitated to say, life isn't fair. So I'll just hope that tomorrow unfolds more pleasantly for the duck and me.

posted by Girl Detective6:27 PM


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Tuesday, November 16, 2004
I noted in a
previous entry that I was a medication moderate when it came to the duck. My husband reminded me, though, that when the duck wakes in the middle of the night, any moderation flies out the window. Tylenol, teething tablets and how to get us all back to sleep as soon as possible are about the only things that occur to me. At 3 this morning, though, after I went in but the duck had nearly settled himself already, I did find room for a few additional thoughts: "wow, that was easy", and "well, if I'm up I might as well go to the bathroom."

posted by Girl Detective1:40 PM


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"Sound and lights" is not a convincing selling feature for a toy.

posted by Girl Detective1:35 PM


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The other day at our grocery coop, a woman and her baby were ahead of me and mine at the checkout. We exchanged baby names, but didn't go the extra bit for each others'.

I leaned over the duck and said, "Duck, say hi to baby X," then added, "He doesn't talk yet, actually."

The other mother jumped right in. "Oh, baby X says a lot of words," and proceeded to list them. There may have been a fractional pause as she realized she was trying to one-up me in the mom olympics, and a definite moment of silence as I did not engage by countering with the duck's development milestones.

"Oh," she added, seemingly as apology, "but we really work at it with him."

Two primary responses vied for prominence in my brain: "Are you implying that I'm not trying to help my baby develop?" in an outraged tone, and "I try not to 'work' the baby; I figure he'll do just fine if we play." in a condescending tone. Instead I bade her a good day and left it at that.

When I feel anxious that he's not using words, I remind myself that the duck will do so when he is ready, just as he has done everything else. Outside commentary--from the doctor, from people like baby X's mom, and from the baby books--frays at my tenuous belief in him. Yet I am able to keep coming back to it; he will use words when he's ready. Whenever that is will be just when it should be, for him.

posted by Girl Detective1:31 PM


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Yesterday, the duck went back and forth across the bouncy bridge several times, by himself, at the playground. He backed down one side,then turned around, stood up and walked, then stooped, to get up the other. The bouncy bridge is tough--it moves as you walk, and is steep at both ends. Plus it's open on both it's sides, making it rather nerve-wracking to spot him.

posted by Girl Detective1:30 PM


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How's the baby's rash? asked my friend Queenie, when we went out to the movies last night.

"Funny," I replied. "It's not red, it's skin colored, so you can't really tell till you touch him, then he's all bumpy."

"Oh, like a Braille baby."


posted by Girl Detective1:29 PM


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Monday, November 15, 2004
The duck "talks" all the time. He babbles, he croons, he often seems to be singing. But we have yet to identify meaningful patterns to the babble. This may, we fully admit, be a failing on our part. My husband insists that "Ah DEE dah" means "I love you" but I have some doubts.

To me, the duck's language is nearly binary--it consists almost exclusively of the letter D and vowels. He throws in other consonants--K, G, B, M, N--occasionally, but it is D that he is most attached to.

posted by Girl Detective5:17 AM


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He drinks his own bathwater. He leans over in the bath to put his face to the surface and comes up with a chin covered in bubbles. He also likes to find the bar of soap and bite it. He is not put off once he does, so we won't be able to use that as a punishment down the line. Not that we'd planned to. Perhaps I should sign us up for a swimming class.

posted by Girl Detective5:17 AM


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Saturday, November 13, 2004
Lots of good news at the duck's checkup. His height and weight are good, his head continues to be gigantic but not off the chart. His ears are clear, in spite of recent viruses. His development is good, but the doc was surprised to hear that he's still not even using mama and dada meaningfully. We assured him that the duck understands us, and he asked us for specifics on how the duck communicates his needs to us. Does he point? Well, no. But he does pick a book and bring it over and hold it up. Today, he started pushing his highchair into the kitchen when he got hungry. He started screaming at the children's museum when he got bored. He lets us know.

The doc took a look at the rash. The good news: I didn't cause it by using baby lotion. The better news: it isn't itchy. The best news: it isn't because he is sick, it's because he WAS sick, so it's not contagious. It's called
Gianotti-Crosti syndrome, and I had a hard time looking it up on the internet when I got home, because it's not mentioned in any of the baby books I've got. It's a rash that's a reaction to having had a virus. The curious thing is that we think the last virus he had was roseola, and the doc concurred after we described it--high fevers for three days that ended with a flat, red rash over his entire body, then the fever broke and he was fine within 48 hours. But this rash is usually in response to much nastier viruses like hepatitus B and coxsackie, so we're not sure what he had that it's a response to, just that it's now over. The bad news? This unattractive rash is likely to last for at least six weeks. The worse news? He just got his MMR and chicken pox vaccines, both of which can also cause rashes like this one, so in a week or so he may be even more bumpy and crusty.

A quick note about vaccines. There's a lot of liberal scare stuff out there about the danger of vaccines. Before I had the baby I was quite worried about vaccines. Since then, I've done a lot of research and found that both the science and the rhetoric to support the anti-vaccination stance are pretty weak. The link between the MMR vaccine and autism has been disproved many times. While there is data that tied thimerosol to higher levels of autism, no infant vaccines are preserved with thimerosol anymore, so the issue is moot. I had no qualms about the duck receiving both the chicken pox and the MMR vaccines yesterday. I had both chicken pox and the mumps as a child. You know what? They sucked. Thirty years later, my memory of mumps is of intense pain.

I did not, however, get a flu shot for the duck, even though at just 15 months, he is considered to be in the at risk category. If he were still in day care and had increased exposure I would have considered it. According to our doc, the data is not conclusive that the flu shot helps, so we opted against it, even though he told us that different doctors would give different advice. I'm a medication moderate--when it's called for, use it; when in doubt, wait and see. When we took the duck in to see the doc when he was having the up and down high fevers, she commended us on our judicious use of Tylenol. We used it only when he was feverish and acting very sick and unable to sleep, not whenever he felt hot. A lot of time he was feverish and happy, so we wanted to let the fever burn through whatever virus was causing the ruckus.

When I got home after the checkup, I was thinking about the doctor asking us if the duck understood us. So when the duck brought me a book, I told him to go get his monkey so we could all read together; he turned around and got the monkey. When we finished with that book he got down from my lap and I told him to get Moo, Baa, La, La, La. He picked it out of several books. Later when he was playing, I asked if he could hand me a lion. He did. I asked for a zebra. Got that. I then asked for a giraffe, at which he seemed confused. So he doesn't have complete comprehension, but it does look like he's sharper than a sack of hippos. Even if he isn't using English yet.

posted by Girl Detective6:18 PM


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Friday, November 12, 2004
Wednesday was a good day, even if my husband did get
laid off at work. The duck woke late and happy, and he took a good nap in the afternoon, enabling me to ignore my Nanowrimo novel and instead indulge in some trashy TV on Tivo--part of a Wife Swap and part of a Trinny/Susannah What Not to Wear.

Yesterday was nothing so felicitous. He woke when I did, giving me no cushion of alone time, and only took an hour nap. He did have some happy periods, but screamed and screeched regularly throughout the day, including every single time I went to the bathroom. My husband had plans after work, so I was on my own with him all day (though we lunched with my friend Queenie), from 6:15 a.m. when he woke to 7:00 p.m. when it was time for bed. So all of life had to be crammed in after he went to bed: conversation with husband, email correspondence, blog entries, Nanowrimo goal of 1700 words per day, dinner, TV and a few pages of book.

I think he's fussy and sleeping less well because of imminent teeth. He also seems to have sprouted a strange rash. My alarmist self thinks it's chicken pox (I thought the same thing about the roseola he had two weeks ago). My practical self thinks it's a reaction to the baby lotion I put on him last night after his bath, worried that his skin seemed a little dry. His 15 month checkup is today, though, so we get to ask the doctor instead of trying to figure it out on our own. It would be ironic if it were German Measles or chicken pox, though, since he may be due for those vaccinations today.

Is it any more ironic, though, than that baby products are mostly bad for babies? All those years, and I thought the baby oil, baby lotion, baby bath, baby cream, baby shampoo, baby powder, etc. was made for babies but used by adults. Instead, I get good and stocked on all the stuff before having the baby, only to discover he needs almost nothing. He needs Dove soap. And diaper-rash cream with zinc. That's it. Seriously. Anything else is at best worthless, and potentially even harmful, e.g. rash-inducing. So I've got all these baby products, some of which I use myself in order to use them up, and others of which lie fallow, until I think I've got enough justification to use them, such as a little baby lotion for the dry skin and chapped cheeks, and then wham. Rash. I'm just hoping that this rash is from the lotion, and not some nasty virus. Again with the irony, that I'm hoping that I was the one to cause the baby's rash. If it's a reaction to a product, it will go away, and I'll never use the product again. If it's a virus, though, then he'll be sick again. I just want him to be well and happy. I wish it were easier done than said.

posted by Girl Detective11:21 AM


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Thursday, November 11, 2004
I don't think the duck did anything new yesterday. This morning, though, when I went in to get him up he had bounced the crib a few inches away from the wall. I'm not sure if I should get those wheel stops to prevent it from happening, or just see how far he can get. I'm inclined to the latter.

posted by Girl Detective5:41 PM


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Wednesday, November 10, 2004

New things

My previous thought, which has thus far been disproved for a week, now, is that babies don't in fact do something new every day. I probably thought this about major milestones, like crawling, walking, talking, etc. Big milestones are interesting because they are both gradual and sudden. Gradual, in that I can see him working up to them for quite some time. Sudden, because the first time occurs in a flash, and has often been so quick, so fleeting, that I doubt it has even occurred. Did he really take a step, or did I just imagine it? It is only after he has been doing something for a while that I feel like he is really doing it, at which point it doesn't feel new, because he'd been doing it for a while, building up from those ephemeral, "did he or didn't he" moments to "yep, he'd definitely doing that."

I forgot to note that the other night when he ate pizza for the first time, we also went out to Crema Cafe, and he had Sonny's ice cream for the first time--raspberry chocolate chip, which he loved. He'd had Sonny's sorbet before, but not yet ice cream. Sometimes the new things are just gradations or variations on old things.

One thing he's been doing for at least several days is periodically spitting out what he's drinking from his sippy cup. I began to take away the cup firmly and say "no spitting." Then yesterday, when he spat something out, he promptly held out the cup for me to take away. We went to the playground and he climbed up on the jungle gym, but was using the footholds much better than he has previously. He backed onto the bridge, which he has done before, but began to bounce it himself, which he has not.

It all makes me wonder if perhaps we still do something new every day, which we'd notice if only we paid more attention.

posted by Girl Detective5:37 AM


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Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Cute, but not very bright

Our friend Queenie gave the duck a shape bucket for his birthday--there are four pieces and four holes: circle, square, tria


tional typing by the duck.

Circle, square, triangle and star.

He gets the circle piece in the circle hole, no problem. But he absolutely cannot get any of the other pieces into their correct spots. In fact, he is so far from doing that that he will try to put them through the circle hole, even when we're doing it like a puzzle, and the circle piece is IN the hole--he will try to put another piece on top of it. Sometimes he doesn't even bother trying the other pieces, and just throws them.

So while other parents are out there teaching++ their kids words, and sending them to swim classes so they walk quicker, and exposing their kids to the entire Baby Einstein oeuvre, I'm just hoping that he hangs onto his looks. /He's looking like he might +++-*******end up sharp *as a sack of hippos.

Again, additional
typing and
line breaks by my writing partner, the duck.

posted by Girl Detective1:26 PM


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My son, the contrarian

The duck is now equally skilled at going both up and down stairs. Without fail, though, he will decide to go the opposite way that I want him to. In the morning, after his diaper change, I'll bring him downstairs and he'll climb back up. For later diaper changes, I'll try to take him up and he'll turn around and back down. Just to see if this opposite thing worked, the other night, after I'd been trying to get him to go upstairs for his bath and he was instead backing down the stairs, I stayed at the bottom of the stairs and told him to come on downstairs. Up he went.

So it looks like I'm going to have to perfect the Bizarro method of parenting. As if I'm not confused enough already.

posted by Girl Detective1:25 PM


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Monday, November 08, 2004

He almost, but not quite, didn't do something new today

"Hey," I said, after my husband put the duck to bed. "He didn't do anything new today!"

"Have you ever seen him put his finger up his nose, then eat it?"

"Well, um, no."

"He didn't necessarily have a booger that he ate, but the finger did go up the nose and then into the mouth."

"Unpleasant, but definitely new."

Perhaps this is the one I'll tell to a little old lady the next time one says that they do something new every day.

Also, he is sounding very, very close to talking. He babbles constantly, but there are some instances that are beginning to sound deliberate, like a "Dizah" sound when I read Dinosaur's Binkit.

According to the doctor at his last check up, the duck is supposed to have about eight words at his next appointment.

That's this Friday. I keep telling him he'd better get crackin'. He just responds, "Ah DEE dah."

posted by Girl Detective6:56 PM


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Sunday, November 07, 2004

Awake, 6 a.m., every day last week

Apparently, the duck didn't get the memo about daylight savings time. So he went from going to bed at 7 and waking up at 7 to going to bed at 7 and waking at 6. He's waking up happy, chatting and crooning to his duck and sheep blankie, so this morning I did not get him up till 7 anyway, but I'm desperately hoping his circadian rhythms will catch up. I need a little morning time before getting swept up into the mom-a-whirl.

posted by Girl Detective6:32 PM


. . . . .

I'm still wrong

Welcome to days five and six of my continually failing experiment to disprove the little old ladies small talkism "babies do something new every day".

Yesterday the duck ate pizza for the first time (Pizza Luce, of course) and was mesmerized both by seagulls and an airplane in the sky over Target, pointing insistently and shouting "Ay, ah, Ay, ah." Could he mean airplane? It's a leap, I think.

Today, we noticed that he's taking his little plastic giraffe and tucking it behind his ear and going "ah, ah, ah." We think he's pretending to talk on the phone. Also, he held out toys to me, and when I'd reach to take them, he'd pull them back, psyche!

posted by Girl Detective6:32 PM


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Saturday, November 06, 2004

Me vs. the old ladies, round 4

Again, yesterday, I got through till five o'clock with the duck not doing anything new. (Aha, but is this because I'm a stay-at-home mom, and am just doing the same things with him every day? I keep thinking I need to start art projects and play more music or something. Sigh. It will _never_ be good enough, I swear.)

Then we went to a Guy Fawkes party at another family's house. We've offered him salmon and tuna before; always he has refused. Last night, though, he was loving the fish and chips. Then, with the other kids he discovered one of my favorite childhood toys, the Hopper Popper, and ran across the floor with it. Finally, we went outside to burn things and he was mesmerized by the fire, and shouted and crooned and was altogether a very excited baby. So three new things: fish, hopper popper and love of things on fire.

When my sisters and I were little, my father hated the Hopper Popper. He took to hiding it in more and more difficult places. He finally gave up when one of us turned up, excited and dusty and smudged, "Daddy, daddy, look what I found in the attic! It's our Hopper Popper!" He could either throw it away or give in, knowing that we'd eventually tire of the toy. He let us keep it. Perhaps soon I will have a Hopper Popper in my own house that I will come to loathe.

posted by Girl Detective9:15 AM


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Friday, November 05, 2004

In which I prove--twice!--that I am still able to think fast

I was in the parking lot, waiting for a spot, when I saw two cars pull out at the same time. Neither noticed the other and collision was imminent.

I honked loudly. Perhaps they looked back at me and thought, what the hell's her problem, then got a glance of the looming fender of the other car that was REALLY close to theirs, and felt sheepish. One waved, the other backed out first, then the waver went, I pulled in, and that was that.

Later, the duck was asleep for the night. My husband and I were watching TV in the basement. Our security system was armed. We heard a loud beep from the baby monitor and both jumped up. It wasn't the security system--that would have continued to go off. On the run up the stairs, I first identified the beep: the smoke detector in the duck's room. But why was it going off? Were the batteries low? Before we reached the first floor I'd gotten it: the humidifier we'd put in to help relieve his cold was setting it off. We reached the second floor and removed the humidifier. The beeps subsided, having never woken the duck.

posted by Girl Detective11:46 AM


. . . . .

Is it worth it?

As I may have mentioned here, sometimes this parenting thing is tough. Some people have asked if it's worth it. I'd be lying if I said the answer was always yes. There have been days, sometimes several in a row, during which I long for my old life, going out to dinner, and oh how I miss the movies. But I didn't sign on to this gig because I thought it would be easy. The payoffs are numerous. I'm learning what really matters to me because it's often so hard to make it happen. I have to scramble sometimes to read and write, but I'm doing them, and I value them that much more. I'm also learning to manage my anger, and how to practice acceptance on a basis so frequent that sometimes I swear I have to do it every conscious moment. These are theory, though. Here are some points of practice:

The feeling of success I get when I am able to correctly intuit what the baby needs--food, nap, exercise. It has taken me over 14 months of practice, but it happens more and more often.

The shocking joy of being on the receiving end of a spontaneous baby hug.

The enormous smile with seven visible teeth that I get when I come into the room. (He has a total of ten that have broken through, and at least two more are imminent.)

Listening to him croon and babble happily for over half an hour when he woke this morning.

His soft skin, the downy red-gold hair on his head, the curve of his cheek, his chubby feet and thighs.

My absolute favorite thing that he does is this weird smile, where he grins hugely and tenses up his arms and hands--I call it the Incredible Hulk smile. It makes me laugh and laugh when he does it. Every time he does it, I think, yeah, it is SO worth it.

posted by Girl Detective11:28 AM


. . . . .

Me vs. the old ladies: 0 for 3

Yes, day 3 of my experiment in whether the duck does something new every day. I really thought yesterday was going to be the day. That it was just two days of flukes. Then he fell off the couch. (Not far, and I was right there, and he was easily comforted.) Later, as he was playing on the landing, he reached up for the bannister, grabbed it and either just lifted his feet up to hang, or even might have pulled himself up a bit.

We're in the midst of day 4 of this experiment, and thus far nothing new.

One thing he's been doing for a while now that's very cute is sidling. He's mastered forward motion at top speed, so now he's practicing evasive maneuvers. He's a tricksy little guy.

posted by Girl Detective11:27 AM


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Thursday, November 04, 2004

I am a reasonably intelligent person

So why can't I figure out the directions for the baby toilet clamp? (For any non-parents, this is so to prevent the baby from playing/drowning in the toilet. Yet doesn't it make sense for them to make friends (under supervision, of course) with the toilet, make it seem like a fun thing? That's the advice we got for the bed when we were encouraging him to nap.)

I feel like I'm in the twilight zone--the pieces in the box do not seem to match the pieces pictured in the instructions. But there are only three--how hard can this be? I read it again and again and it doesn't make sense. And no, it's not written in badly translated English.

posted by Girl Detective10:45 AM


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Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Newsflash: I might be wrong

Yesterday at the coffee shop, a little old lady said, "Oh, babies do new things every time you look." I held my tongue, since I still feel bad about the last time I heard a variation on this nugget, when my 90-year-old grandmother who I don't see very often said "Oh, he does something new ever day."

"No, he doesn't," I snapped, "he sometimes goes days without doing anything new."

I have no idea why I was so cranky and out of sorts that day. The sky is blue... (On a side note, I find it amusing that some people, notably members of
my husband's pub quiz team, think he's cranky. Perhaps, but only until he is juxtaposed with me. Then, in order to maintain equilibrium in the universe, he has to be Zen Buddha guy. I never encounter him not juxtaposed with me, thus to me he is almost always calm, not cranky, like me.)

So when I heard the lady in the coffee shop say the same thing, I bit my tongue, did not snap at her, and thought, well, I'll prove her wrong. I bet he doesn't do a new thing every day. I will keep track on the blog. This should be easy.

Yesterday, the duck slithered down the basement stairs all by himself. And he did the same thing on the cement back steps, where just last month he did not one but two face plants. He also rolled a ball back and forth with his dad.

Today, he began to shake his booty to music. I don't just mean he danced--he's been bobbing to music for a while. I mean he literally did a little squat and shake while I sang Mary Had a Little Lamb. Imagine what will happen if I play him something with a strong bass line.

Then, at dinner tonight, just for the usual futility of putting what we eat on his plate (while having a hot dog ready as back up) I flung him a few pad thai noodles. He slurped them up. And to prove it wasn't a fluke, he did it again and again. We've given him mac and cheese and every variation on kid-friendly pasta, and it's pad thai that he gobbles up.

It's only been two days, so it's hardly a representative sample, but I'm going to keep tracking this. You heard it here, folks: babies may in fact do something new EVERY DAY.

posted by Girl Detective5:45 PM


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Monday, November 01, 2004

Board books

I've spent a lot of time reading board books lately. The duck will grab one, toddle over and hold it aloft with an expectant look on his face. This moment is repeated throughout the day and it never ceases to be cute. I can, and do, sometimes express displeasure with the book he has chosen, but the fetching and holding are, at least thus far, beyond reproach.

The duck, though, is not satisfied with one read, front to back. Usually he likes to go forward, then backward and will go up and back many times. Most times my husband and I will tire of a book long before the duck does. Also, the duck turns pages at a fast clip, so it's important to read fast and not get too attached to reading everything on one page. He sometimes skips pages, and he doesn't seem to notice, or care. We, on the other hand, do notice and are damn glad, especially during Green Eggs and Ham, which is a very long book, especially if you have to read it several times in a row, front and back, again and again.

I've come to appreciate books that have enough words to read quickly but not so many that reading them is futile. Too few words is deadly boring. Story books that have been converted to board books don't work so well--too many words, not enough rhyme or rhythm to keep his interest. Also some books work well going either forward or backwards.

So if you're looking for a book for a child, you need to consider both the child and the adult. A baby is likely to get bored by too long a story, and adult by one that is too short. Test drive a book by reading it aloud. Some books have terrible rhymes that are difficult and uneven to read. I like most of the Boynton board books, but Dinos to Go is like that--bad rhymes plus too long. Then read it forward and backward. If you can read it 6 times in a row without stumbling, cursing or growing bored, then it might work out.

posted by Girl Detective3:21 PM


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