Thursday, May 31, 2007


I am acutely aware of the many roles I play in my life, the many hats I wear: woman, wife, mother, professor, blogger. This whole business of questing for balance is based on an acknowledgment that different forces constantly assert differently-angled but nonetheless cumulative pulls and pushes on the (un)stable self. Right?

I have been trying to find--well, create, really--balance in my life, so that I am able to best enjoy all the good and least suffer the ill. I have done this, largely, by acknowledging my limited energies and by blunting some of my sharper ambitions. I have devoted the bulk of my energies and passions to my family. I have cut myself slack. I have lived in the hyphen: I am a wife-and-mother now, having been a wife-and-woman before that. I am still a woman-professor, but am now also a professor-mom. My house is cleanish, the renos advancing, if glacially; my marriage is maturing but remains a work in progress not yet perfected; I've managed to lose the baby weight and occasionally to read the Saturday paper in its entirety, even if this might take me until Thursday. The hyphen explains, the hyphen mitigates: the hyphen denotes multitasking. Twice the work, but spread over just one person.

I've been a 'good-enough professor.' I've been a 'good-enough' everything really.

As you know, I love my job. What I have really loved since becoming pregnant is the flexibility it has offered me in terms of scheduling, the freedom to work from home in my pajamas, the freedom to rearrange my work to suit my needs. Of course, this largely meant less work and less intensely. I'm a competitive, ambitious academic by nature: you kinda don't get to the professoriate without a strong drive and a will of steel. It's been hard for me to take naps on the floor of my office while pregnant, and hard for me to see my course evaluations dip in the semester since my return from mat leave ("It's hard to get hold of Professor Mimi"). Now that my summer research term has begun in earnest, and as the tenure clock suddenly seems to tick loudly than its biological counterpart ... I want more than good enough. I want to be un-hyphenated.

Isn't that a terrible thing to say? The pull of my research, my feeling that, really, I can do much better and much more work on this than I have been, yanks hard at me. I feel my own ambition returning. I like it. Pynchon can see it in my eyes, hear it in my voice as I rapid-fire the day's research at him over the cell phone as I march home through the park while listening to radio documentaries on the history of science and jotting down notes. "Sloooooow down! You're talking really fast." Because I'm excited. I'm in the zone, and I could lose myself there. When we started dating, just as I was finishing up my dissertation, Pychon gave me the nickname, 'Academimi'--he said my whole self changed when I got in that word space, and once, when he stopped by my office unexpectedly, I blinked up at him, and called him "Dude"--I forgot his name. That's what I get like when I'm working. I love the focus.

But how can I do this--the conferences, the intense, manic head-game of deeply researching a topic, the deeply interior process of thinking-by-writing--without throwing all the rest of it out of whack? How can I be a devoted mom, a fun and attractive wife, a contented woman and an accomplished professor, all at the same time? I can't create more hours in the day, nor do I have much left that I can really give up in the hours that I do have.

I feel the pull of the supermom stereotype. I don't want to be that person. But how can I reconcile this career drive and everything else that I want just as much?

Monday, May 28, 2007


My watch battery died about two years ago. I haven't replaced it yet, and so go without a watch. I read somewhere that watches are becoming more and more status symbols as their actual utility declines: who needs a watch when your cellphone, laptop, iPod, Blackberry, etc. all flashes the time at you as a matter of course?

In the course of a day, there is, in fact, very little that depends on a strict adherence to schedule--other than getting into and out of class, and attending the occasional meeting, my workdays are stretches of flowing time, broken up by interests rather than appointments and obligations. I actually found that I didn't much care what time it was, most of the time. When I teach, I can check the time on the classroom clock; to make sure I get there on time, I glance up at the corner of my laptop screen. Even my office phone just silently tells time while it waits to ring, or to be dialled. Every hallway in my building has a clock, and the circulation desk at the library has two.

The longer I went without a watch, the less I found myself wondering what the time was.

Until I got pregnant, of course. Then it wasn't a constant checking of the progress of the minute hand, or even the hour hand. I constantly tapped out a calendrical rosary on my fingertips: months and weeks of gestastion accomplished, portion of pregnancy elapsed, trimester milestones attained or approaching.

Minute-time arrived with Miss Baby, a warping of my time-sense: she's been crying for an hour, or maybe one minute. She's been asleep for only twenty minutes! Or was that an hour? When did she eat, or better yet, when did I? "She's two and a half weeks old," I somewhat blearily, if proudly, told a friend of my mother's. "Mimi!" my mom admonished, "She's 17 days old! Two and a half weeks. Sheesh!" (My mom is the kind of person who says sheesh when provoked in ways like this.) I counted days and weeks, I counted hours and minutes: naps, feeding, growth, maternity leave, days until the weekend, minutes at the breast. I became obsessed with knowing exactly what time it was. If I couldn't see the clock on Pynchon's side of the bed when I got up at night, I got angry. We put a clock in Miss Baby's room, so I could watch the time pass as I rocked and rocked. Somehow, if I knew she fed from 3:07 until 3:18, that made getting up so much more bearable: if I could name it, I could control it?

Still, now that she's getting older--almost 1!--we're settling into an easier routine, one with softer targets and gentler rhythms: we get up 6:30-7:30-ish; we get to daycare 9-10-ish, and come home 5-ish. Whatever. I find, though, that I'm able more to enjoy our time in the evening, when work and daycare are done--there's nothing left but dinner, and bath, and bed, and that all flows without too much effort. I'm a little more stressed in the morning, even though we're really not on a strict schedule. I'm still driven by a forward momentum that can't help looking at the clock.

Pynchon goes back to work in three weeks--a real office gig, you know, the kind where you have to show up at a particular time and stay put for a certain number of hours. I wonder what our time will feel like then?
And speaking of time, I'm sorry if I haven't been around to your place lately--I'm getting caught up tonight. Work's been very intense, and I've been spending whole days on the internet, and coming home to paint windows in the garage before conking out in bed. Whoops.

Friday, May 25, 2007


Here's the view from our balcony in Cuba. Bear in mind we paid more money than we could really afford to attend our friends' beachfront nuptials, a getaway we imagine to be our last for some time. Ready?

Nice, eh?

Here's the view from the newlyweds' balcony. Hope you're not afraid of heights:

In fact, the whitish blur on the point is, in fact, the newlyweds, newly wed. The striding figure is the photographer: they always move with such purpose, don't you think?

Anyhow. We had a crappy room with a crappy view. But sometimes you find something worth looking at in the unlikeliest of places.

Not here, though:

That's the 'art' above our bed. Amazingly, we managed to get to sleep despite this assault on good taste. No, I'm thinking more of stuff like this:

It's not really all about my feet. I think this is a post about perspective, about the benefits of mixing it up. This photo is of a road paved in wood blocks: the homeowner who did the paving really detested the sound of horses galumping over cobblestones of a morning, a time of day said homeowner much preferred to be asleep. How funny! And what a novel solution to an end I can really get behind: more sleep, and quieter! When we show our pictures, everyone always asks me about this. I tell them the story, and I know I will remember it now. Will marvel.

Sometimes the wide angle offers a panorama worthy of contemplation:

The diagonal can emphasize distance, give a sense of sweep and scale; connote motion or direction.

Or a grander field of view can suggest unlikely juxtapositions; here it's decay and care.

Too much distance, though, and you wind up with a series of postcards. To make it your own, move in closer:

What matters is the look of joy, of relaxation, of well-restedness and couplehood that you can see on our faces. Beach be damned--it's not the story here.

Here is a detail from the ceiling of the Capitol building in Havana--now the building serves purely a museum function, but the level of attention to detail, the artistry and the fussiness, is just incredible.

This is one carved panel from one of many many doors in the Capitol building. It might be too small here, but try to note that the figure on the far right has had his name removed and his likeness scratched from the panel. Why? These are all historical political figures in Cuba, including, presumably, the blanked-out figure. This is historical revisionism before Photoshop, I guess.

You probably don't know I took a lot of fine arts photography studios in university, that I've shown prints in shows, or shot more than one wedding. Or that I occasionally teach photography. And the first thing I teach is perspective: look at it differently, I implore my students, look at it to find a meaning or to make one.

Isn't life like that too? Best contemplated, by turns, from a greater distance to give depth, and from a nearer one for detail? To have long range goals is to lend purpose, a narrative arc, a context for the mass of details; to focus on the telling detail is to remain aware that, really, deatils are all there are, and that they matter. Most deadly is that middle shot, encompassing neither broad sweep nor telling detail, a knees-to-ceiling framing that is unsure of its focus.

Lately, I've been trying to think of my life from the wide-angled and from the closeup views. Where do I want to be in twenty years and how do I get there? How does my life in the everyday living of it it bring me joy or reflect my authentic self, right now? I'm trying to get away from the middle shot, a contemplation of life from one set of bill payments to the next, one weekly rotation to another. This is not where the richness is: it's in the big picture, and in the small one.

All I ever needed to know, I learned from photography? Chicken soup for the photographer's soul? Or a cheap post built from photos that otherwise very few people will see?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


"Has she said her first word yet?" Uncle J asked on Saturday.

Yes: at eight months old, she looked her father square in the eye one morning, and with a good deal of love and intent, said, "Dada." She did this reliably for a whole morning. No: at nearly one year old, she often calls the cat, the ceiling fan, and her own feet "Dada." It's hard to tell. We know she understands many words, and she can say "cat" and "daycare" and "mamamamamama" and "d-d-d-d-DADA-da-da", but not consistently or with purpose. There will be a threshold moment where she makes sense more often than she does not, and her 'first word,' I thus imagine to be more like the one feather that broke the camel's back, more of a tipping point than a milestone.

Monday last week, she crawled: that was pretty clear. One day she wasn't locomoting, and the next she was. It was hesitant but incontrovertible. Monday. But sometime last week, too, she seems to have developed the capacity to wave hello and goodbye, apparently using her arm in a waving gesture purposely and socially where before her whole body just flailed with joy when she saw someone she knew appearing: Hello! And: she can clap when you ask her, all of a sudden. You don't need to clap, yourself--you just say 'clap' and she will. When did that happen? Last week. She can also play peekaboo, putting her hands more or less over her eyes when you ask "Where's the baby?"--she claps like mad when you shout "Peekaboo." Last week was a tipping point for gross motor skills, I guess.

Uncle J, over for dinner, and playing on the floor with Miss Baby as she showed him her crawling, sitting, flailing, and charming skills--she kissed him, even--might well note her attainment of milestones. He sees her every six weeks or so. Pynchon and I, too, though, seem to be caught unawares, wondering with a start when she was able, more often than not, to sit by herself. When she became more interested in our grownup food than her baby food, when she noticed that we were not all eating the same thing. When she started singing to herself as she thumbed her books. We are brought up short; we consider her anew as if she were a stranger. When did ... ? We constantly reinterpret her, rebuild in our ideas and our hearts just who 'our daughter' is, what she can do, what are her likes and dislikes. She is an object lesson in the inexorability of change.

I have been pondering the fuzziness of milestones, the elastic threshold of much that we would instead think of a binaries: does she talk or doesn't she? It's more like sprouting teeth, I think--a bump that approaches and recedes, a sharp little point that protrudes and then disappears, a tenuous achievement made certain only by its duration. If it's still here in two days, we'll believe it.

I pondered this as insomnia gripped me again for most of late last week, as I lay abed noting the moment when the fuzzy continuum between asleep, stirring, settling, stirring, conscious, and fully awake shifted irrevocably from my being able to imagine getting back to sleep, and to my knowing I might as well just get up.

Oh sleep. How I miss you. I last wrote about 'settling', about the calm that slowly drains the day from Miss Baby's little self, how peaceful she was on Thursday when I set her down, so peaceful, indeed, that I felt compelled to write about it.

You know where this is going, right? Yes, Thursday night she did in fact get up. At 10:30, and was settled back into bed three times between then and 12:30, when Pynchon came home from the movies and managed to get her down for good at 1am. Friday night my own damn brain woke me up and wouldn't let me sleep. And then Sunday night, Miss Baby arose in a pool of vomit at 10:10--ironically, just after I had taken two Gravols as a means of ensuring my own peaceful and uninterrupted night's sleep--and went through three sets of pyjamas, two sets of sheets, one doudou and and emergency doudou, two bathtowels, two baths, three soothers, and the endurance of both of her parents before dropping to burfless sleep at 1am.

We are fast nearing another threshold: in less than three weeks our Miss Baby will be a year old. 1! The first weeks seemed to last forever but the year has whizzed by. Our Miss Baby will soon be Miss Toddler--she can't, I think, keep her baby pseudonym, but Miss Toddler hardly has the same ring to it. So I'll put my thinking cap on. If you have any ideas, I would be happy to hear them.

Groggily yours, Mimi

Thursday, May 17, 2007


'Settle' has such negative connotations, doesn't it? As in, settling for a particular job, or life partner, or a less-than-optimum room at your hotel in Cuba. Settling in this sense means giving up your higher ambitions, shrugging a 'to hell with my ideals' shrug, and abandoning forward momentum for a soft glide in a more frictionless path, where sheer inertia is keeps effort unnecessary. Settling is apathy, a loss of passion or higher purpose, a deadly sin in a culture that prizes entrepreneurial pluck and get-up-and-go.

In another sense, settling can mean 'settling down.' Again, the connotation is of giving up: giving up loud music and recreational pharmaceuticals and outrageous political opinions and wild haircuts and distression body piercings. Settling down marks the end of carefree nomadism and the beginning of a 25 year mortgage. When you settle down, you settle for a job and a life partner. You settle for less than your dream life. It's the kind of stuff mid-life crises are built from, the slow stifling diminution of the authentic self eaten away in routine.

We are not a culture that looks kindly on settling.

But settling can have positive connotations, can't it? After a bad fright, we can settle down into a more tranquil state of mind. After a hard physical effort, we settle into a soft chair and relax, eyes closed and heart slowing.

I've been thinking a lot about settling, as the obligations in my life pile up and Pynchon and I take on a whole new person in our lives to care for and provide for. I'm happy with my life, my life of car payments and a mortgage and bus tickets and lattes and home repair and $200 trips to the grocery store and couple-time carved out of naps and bedtimes. Of a screen saver perpetually cycling baby photos. I like all this. I'm content and ... settled. Despite my contentment, I can't help but sometimes feel as though I've failed somehow. Settled: there's no way to spin this positively and sound vibrant, dynamic, alive? Is there?


Even though Miss Baby is on formula now, and the Magic Boobies have been retired from service, it still largely falls to me to give her her final feed at bedtime, before depositing her in her crib, kissing her forehead, and pulling her blanket up. She's always tired, but she's sometimes not sleepy. When I feed her in the dark, rocking slowly and sh-shushing her, I feel her settle. It is the most calming, beautiful thing to watch, to be a part of. Now that she faces up at me, she locks her eyes with mine. Full of beans as we sit down, she flails her arms, pulls hard on her doudou, smacks my arm, digs her thumbnail deep into the palm of my hand, pushes the change table with her rigid legs. Yanks the bottle, bites the nipple. As she settles, she becomes gentler, quieter. She watches my face carefully. Her legs still, and she feels heavier on my lap. She coos and her breathing becomes rhythmic. The best part: the hands that have been pinching and smacking become so gentle. She rubs the hair on my arms so softly I get goosebumps. She reaches up and pats my face. With one finger she rubs my lip. Inserts a hand between my arm and my sweater and absentmindely wiggles her finger, feeling what it feels like, all these new sensations that she's settled enough to take the time to experience.

Eventually the bottle empties, or her eyes start to droop. I kiss her on the forehead, and lift her limp little self up--really, it's all I can do not to scoop her up into a hug, but I put her down in her crib, tuck her in, surround her with bears. She watches. Settled. And goes to sleep. And then I don't feel so alone in my contentment--so maybe I'm not living my childhood film star glamour life hard party fantasy. I really think, after mature consideration, that this is better.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Post vacation

We returned from Cuba in the wee hours of Sunday morning, not at all tanned, very much exhausted, and desperately missing Miss Baby, who grew 2 new teeth in our absence in addition to nurturing a hacking and sneezing and green-goo sniveling daycare-related head cold, lavished many kisses on her Auntie S. and was apparently unpleasantly startled to see her very own parents at 7am. (She seems since to have reconciled herself to the removal of said aunt and the reinstallation of The Mama and The Dada).

I have a head full of stories and was oft heard exclaiming to Pynchon on the beach: "Must blog about this!" and "Must blog about that" and "I wonder what all my bloggy friends are up to?" Odd then, that I've been completely blogstipated since returning to Canada! There's just too much to say, I guess, too much reading to catch up on, too many conversational strands to rethread, and too much distance between my last post and this.

So as a post, this isn't what I imagined writing--but you've got to get back on that horse somehow, right? I'm slowly getting back to read all of your blogs (heavens and saints above, but did I come back to a daunting backlog of work at the university!) ...


Tonight was my Mother's Day present--an evening at a reading by Linda McQuaig and Heather Mallick. It's what I asked for. I'm ridiculously fond of Heather Mallick, and always turned to her column (page 2 of the Focus section!) first in my Saturday Globe and Mail. Before she quit, and I was heartbroken. Read her at CBC now--get hooked, too.

I've long cherished dreams of being best friends with Mallick, and I was so excited to get to hear her read and to meet her. She did not disappoint, reading a funny and impassioned defense of taxation: taxes bring civilization, she reminds us, and what's not to love about civilization! Who wants to build their own sewers? I concocted a suitably fawning and hopefully witty question for the Q+A afterward and then quickly purchased her book to join the autograph line up.

It's ridiculous how star struck I am by people I admire. I'm sure I made a right fool of myself--when I recounted our meeting to Pynchon, he laughed and patted my head while shaking his. Not a good sign. I did possibly paint myself in stalkerish colours when I told her I have a rich fantasy life in which she and I go out for coffee and make fun of Leah McLaren. I imagined she would sign my book, and find my chitchat so enticing that we would exchange phone numbers, inscribe each others' birthdays in our day planners, and become BFF.

This (you are likely unsurprised) did not happen. Something equally surprising, however, did. I mentioned (since she has an English MA) that I am an English professor. Her eyes lit up with admiration and ... not envy, because she seems happy and there was no malice ... desire?

"Oh!" (she exclaimed) "What a wonderful thing! To read books and books and books! Oh, I miss classrooms and studying."

And she's absolutely right. I can't believe that someone I admire so much could look at me quite that way, impressed and desirous, about my job.

Of course, now that we are on our way to becoming BFF, it would be impolite of me to tell you that she does, indeed, find Leah as helplessly self-involved and irritating as I do. No, I wouldn't tell you that.

Friday, May 04, 2007

A Friday Miscellany

Well, I'm about to start a farewell tour of all my favorite blogs in anticipation of a week's absence. We leave for Cuba tomorrow, one whole week of just me and Pynchon ... and a whole wedding party full of people who seem to love drama. Wish me luck.

Of course, no matter how silly it gets:

It will still be more scenic and more relaxing than home. This pic is from our honeymoon in Jamaica. Pynchon has since taken a Photoshop course, but the drug dealers are still in the photo. Maybe Oh, the Joys can help ...
Do you ever suspect you're turning into your mother? I always leave my packing to the day before or the day of a big trip, because I'm really efficient at it, and don't have so much stuff that I can pack it all a week in advance and not feel the absence of shoes or pants. This trip, however, I've been unable to enjoy even contemplating while shorts and sunscreen remained un-nestled in separate plastic bags inside a large black roller suitcase. As I tucked the last bathing suit into my bag this afternoon, I said to Pynchon: "Now I'm ready to enjoy myself."

And that is when I turned into my mother.

In my defense, I'm in charge of logistics always, while Pynchon is in charge of lifting the heavy things. The cognitive burden is a little higher in my case, soothed only by alcohol rather than the simple Advil required to diminish the aches of his work. And I'm packing for Miss Baby as well. She has, by far, the most luggage of the three of us, and she's only going to my sister's house for the week.

Still, I have found myself not wanting to think about the trip because I've seen it as a logistical summit to be climbed, rather than a pleasurable experience in the near future. This is what makes me my mother. Gulp.
Miss Baby was at daycare between 8:30 and 2:30 today. By herself. It was the first time Pynchon and I had been alone in the house together since she was born, nearly 11 months ago.

We packed. Then we read the newspaper. How thoroughly she's housebroken us!
Miss Baby was at daycare between 8:30 and 2:30 today. By herself. She was fine. The daycare workers later told Pynchon they were afraid he was going to hover forever. So now he feels chastened for being overprotective and too-attached.

At roughly the same time, at my office, the secretary was telling me how proud she was that we were able to leave Miss Baby for a whole week in pursuit of marital hedonism and unlimited alcohol. She had recently taken her first trip apart from her kids. They are 9 and 6. The more she praised my courage and gumption, the more freakish and unnatural I felt. I felt chastened for being callous and selfish.

I'm guessing the band of acceptable parental attachment is very narrow, noted more in the breach than in the observance. Today Pynchon is too clingy and I'm too detached. We'll see what tomorrow brings.
Before supper last night, I scooped Miss Baby up into my arms for a snuggle: she smelled .... of daycare workers. I felt as though she were cheating on me. She did not smell like my baby. I begin to understand why baby squirrels fallen from trees are not to be sullied by human hands for fear of maternal abandonment. Smell is primal, and Miss Baby's new scent hit me like a punch in the gut.
Have a good week everyone! I'll 'see' you when I get back.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

A day in the life of Miss Baby

We're going to Cuba on Saturday, for a week. My sister and mother are taking care of Miss Baby. In another fit of sleeplessness last night, I wrote them up a 'day in the life' narrative, in the hopes that by following the same routine, everything will go more smoothly.

It occurs to me that this document may someday have historical value, at least for us and Miss Baby, and that perhaps you might enjoy it too. Or maybe I figured since I spent so much time writing it and my sister and mother are almost certain to pay it no heed at all, I could make it do double-duty as a post. At least someone would read it then.

So. A day in the life of Miss Baby.
Dear Mom and S,

This is the routine here, and it works very well for us. This is what [Miss Baby] is used to and what she expects. Please please do not go changing everything all at once: we really do know what we’re doing, and would appreciate if you do not try to replace her doudou with something you like better, or abandon the half-swaddle because you think it’s silly.

A note on sleep: she usually goes down for daytime naps with a minimum of fuss – usually a token 15 seconds of squawking, if that. If she cries long and loud (ie, five minutes) at naptime, you might be in trouble. Conversely, at goodnight time, she can sometimes cry for a good deal longer, but then fall asleep for the night.

A note on bottles: she really varies in what she drinks. Sometimes she guzzles the whole 6 oz in a mere moment, and sometimes she dawdles for 20 minutes to barely drink 1 oz. Don’t force it. It all works out in the end.

6:40 – 7:30 : Good morning! She usually wakes up in this range. She gets a snuggle and some kisses, and then a six ounce bottle of formula and a pants-changing. Beware the breakfast poop! It can be there lurking …

8:00-ish: Breakfast: usually start with 5 or so cut up grapes, or a whole banana, cut into slices, or about half and apple cut into ‘sticks’. This will get you some peace and quiet while you get her some jarred veggie in a bowl and find a yogurt for her. Give her half a jar of a veggie, then a yogurt. She obviously likes the yogurt best: good idea to keep it out of her sight until the veggie gets eaten. If she’s looking really hungry, give her a graham cracker afterwards. She likes to feed you sometimes, too: take a bite of the gooey cookie, already!

8:30 – 10:00: Playtime: let her dump toys out of the container, or plunk her on the floor near the bathroom to watch you put makeup on. Fun! She enjoys watching the morning routines with her doudou and her suck-suck. Move her around as she gets bored and she’ll keep on playing by herself. FYI: when she raises her arms and flaps her doudou at you, it doesn’t mean, “look at my awesome doudou,” it means “pick me up in the next 30 seconds or I’m going to freak out.”

10:00-ish: Wind-down. Put the doudou over your shoulder and pick her up: she’ll snuggle both you and the doudou and generally act adorable/pitiful.

10:30 – 12:00: Nap. Swaddle her from the chest down. Carry her and her doudou and her suck-suck around for five or six minutes. Sing. Feel her melt. She might rub her eyes or ram her head into your shoulder. Put her in her bed, tuck her in, kiss her head, and walk away. She’ll likely pull the doudou over her face and check out immediately.

12:00: Food! 6 oz. bottle, and a pants-changing. Flap a diaper over her and yell 'Air out yer bum!' and she will laugh like crazy. But she might also pee on you. Also a good time to pinch her little legs and make her giggle.

12:30 – 2:30: Activity time! Do whatever you want, but she needs some lunch—generally half a jar of fruit, half a jar of veggie, plus some cheese cut up small and a graham cracker.

2:45-ish: Wind-down.

3:00 – 4:30: Nap. Same as the morning, only she’s even tireder now.

4:30: Food! 6 oz bottle, and a pants-changing.

4:45 – 6:00: Activity time! If she gets crabby, take her for a stroller ride and let her scowl at passers-by. It keeps her quiet. She also likes to sit in the Bumbo chair and watch you cook. Don’t let her play with the knives. Beware also the suppertime poop: don’t say I didn’t warn you.

6:00: Supper: more cut up pieces of fruit, or a microwaved frozen veggie ([Miss Baby] is particularly fond of cauliflower and peas). About ½ cup of baby-cereal mixed with formula, and then mixed with a half-jar of baby food. Give her cheese if she still looks hungry. She often looks hungry.

6:40: Bath: put her in the sink, with some plastic spoons and a tupperware and her rubber duck, and she’ll gladly stay in until she is pruney. Watch out: she splashes with great zest. Be sure to put her cream on after her bath.

7:00: Bed time: swaddle her. Sit in the dark with her and feed her another 6 oz bottle. Let her hold her doudou. If she pulls away, plug her up with the suck-suck and put her to bed. That should be the end of it, by around 7:15-7:30.

She rarely gets up at night: usually she just wants to be reswaddled, carried for a minute or two, and put back to bed. If that doesn’t work, she’s hungry: feed her and then put her down awake. She might make a squawk or two, but then stop. If full-throated yelling ensues, she needs a rescue.

Have fun! She’s really at a good age—silly and loving and getting a little smarter every day. It’s amazing to watch and I’m a little sorry to be missing a whole week of it! I will want the full report of any and all cute behavious when I return! Take notes!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


I have been sleeping since I last posted--hence my absence. Ah, sleep, wonderful sleep. Even before the insomnia gripped me, I was tired. Tired from having fun! Yes, as you've heard, bloggy ladies got together in my town on Saturday night and we whooped it up for nearly 10 hours.

Whoop! Whoop!

For one accustomed to going to bed at 10pm, staying up until nearly 2 was something of an anomaly. I felt, though, as if I might have stayed up all night. What fun to drink wine and talk and talk and talk with women I so admire! It was a little odd to finally meet in person women whose lives I have vicariously been privy to--how often do you have to introduce yourself to someone whose inner life you are already so familiar with, who knows so many of your own private thoughts? I opted for an introduction, a handshake ... and then a hug.

I had been anticipating this evening since Mad booked her flight months ago, wondering and wondering what it would be like, what everyone would be like, if we would like each other as much in person as we do online, if we would gel as a group of five. Yes. The talk came easily and happily, and we talked about stuff you can't really get to on the Internet--jobs and family members and how we really feel about our Sitemeter stats. Do our real-life selves match our textual ones? Well, everyone is godawful smart and quick, much as I expected. I am more smitten with them all than I was before. Miss Baby even bestowed smiles on everyone, despite her current fear of most strangers. Surprises? Cinnamon Gurl is just as easy to talk to as she is to read. Mad's poor problem feet were just gorgeous from a new pedicure and she looks far better and far fresher than she would have you believe. Bub and Pie has a Scully-esque quality I hadn't noticed from the photos on her blog. Sage is quieter than I would have imagined but quick to smile--and if you can believe it, we have an acquaintance in common, as do Cin and I. In fact, Cin and I met each other at a party nearly 10 years ago, though I don't recall the details. Mad I knew already, so I'm left to shake my head at the fact that the Internet put me in touch with people I already knew, and people from whom I'm only separated by one degree. Funny.

Funny also is that when we were all five in the same room, the first fact we established was that we were all allowed to blog the experience. Ah, the etiquette of a new social universe!

I had just a wonderful time. Pynchon watched Miss Baby while we talked, went out for dinner, a chattering bloggy parade walking uptown. We drank wine in the rec room, put our feet up and talked about everything under the sun. It's been a long time since I had a night like that, a long time since I've had friends with whom I have such an intimacy, friendships unconnected with work, friendships where I can nurture those other parts of me not covered by discussions of department policy or curricular crises. These wonderful bloggers are mommies, wives, workers, women, thinkers ... Finally toddling off to bed, my mind raced and raced from all the talk such that I could hardly convince myself to sleep.

Now I've got a couple of empty wine bottles and a head full of ideas. I hope we get to do this again. And maybe someday I'll get to meet some more of you.

Hello bloggy ladies! Nice to meet you!