Trying to Ignore the Monitor

Currently listening to: U2's Joshua Tree album
Reminds me of: When I was about 12 and my parents and I were driving back from somewhere from one of my brothers' baseball games and we went through Red Hill mining town and I made them pull over so I could get out because U2 wrote that one song Red Hill Mining Town. Come on, I was only 12....

You know how when you read a whole bunch of writing by one person, and then you go to write something and you discover that you've picked up their tone? I've been devouring the archives on Dooce's site, so I apologize if I sound like her. But if you DO think I sound like her, then it's a compliment to me. So, I'm ripping off one of her ideas and doing a Things I've Learned Since I Had a Baby list.

1. There is nothing stronger than the will of a baby when he doesn't want to sleep. And I don't understand why. Judah can be so tired that his eyes literally roll back in his head for the second that he stops screaming, but he actually WAKES HIMSELF UP so that he can scream some more so that he won't fall asleep. WHY?!?! If only someone would bundle me all up and make me sleep for a few hours.....

2. I apologize if you didn't want to know this, but baby poop does indeed smell like buttered popcorn. And this supplement I'm taking called Fenugreek smells like maple syrup. So a lot of times Judah wakes up smelling like a waffle. Mmmm, breakfast!

3. If an outfit says that it fits "up to 11 pounds" it means that it will be falling off the baby until he hits exactly 11 pounds, and then it will fit him for five minutes before he outgrows it.

4. A five week old baby is perfectly capable of screaming at the top of his lungs for an hour straight. If an adult tried this they'd either pass out or hyperventilate or fall asleep from exhaustion. Which tells me that adults have way less stamina than babies.

5. Listening to a five week old baby scream at the top of his lungs for an hour straight will make an otherwise rational and intelligent adult say horrible things they would not usually say and weep tears of despair and anger.

6. When a five week old baby looks at you with big blue eyes and then SMILES the rational and intelligent adult will take back all the horrible things she said and be willing to do absolutely anything the baby requests, and will forgive the baby for all the screaming and even think "it really wasn't that bad."

7. Babies have an inner clock that tells them to stay awake the whole time between one feeding and the next except for the last ten minutes before the next feeding, at which point the inner clock tells them to fall asleep so soundly that they cannot be roused to eat.

8. There are approximately 11,000 things that They tell you you can't do with a baby because the baby will certainly die. Of these 11,000 things, approximately 10,687 of them were practiced regularly by our parents when we were babies. And all of the things we're supposed to do right now will be totally horrible and will kill the baby when our children have babies, and they'll be back to letting babies sleep on their stomachs and giving them water to drink between feedings.

9. Monitors are from hell.

We're currently trying to teach Judah to fall asleep on his own. This involves putting him in his crib and then listening tensely outside the door. After about one minute of silence he usually starts crying. Being the mean parents we are, we let him cry. For a really long time. We check on him once and a while and everything, and put the chupa (that's what it's called around here, not binky or suckie) back in his mouth, but for the most part he just screams. The whole time I've been writing this he's been screaming, and I've been watching the lights on the monitor with the sound off, because the sound on will drive me insane. The lights finally stopped, and I turned the sound way up to see what's going on. I'm afraid that I've reduced my child to crying quietly and hopelessly in his crib and that he'll grow up to be a conscience-less mass murderer because clearly his mother didn't love him enough to pick him up when he cried. And will he ever smile at me again?

And the worst part is, I'm going to wake him up in ten minutes to eat again!


Thank the Lord, It Happened!!

Currently listening to: still Jack Johnson....

This is the post where I reveal what a horrible person I am. Fortunately, most of you already know it, so the revelation won't be such a shocker to you.

What happened is this: A few minutes ago I walked into Judah's room to wake him up from his first nap of the day. In desperation, I'd given up and put him on his stomach to sleep. I know, BAD MOTHER!!! This is what everyone tells you not to do. But guess what? It's how all of our parents had us sleep when we were born, and we're all here today. Bad mother though I might be, the strategy actually worked, mostly because it keeps him from bludgeoning himself in the face with the hands that he can't yet control. Judah slept for well over two hours, letting me make up a little of the sleep I've been missing for 5 weeks now. What a good boy!!! So anyway, I went in to pick him up and he looked just like a little frog with his legs all pulled up under him, wearing his bright green striped bag sleeper. I picked him up and he whined a little without uncurling, and then he nestled right up against me and went back to sleep with his head under my chin. And this is my confession: at that moment, I finally felt connected to this child.

Yes, it's the awful truth. Since we brought Judah home from the hospital I have loved him, but haven't felt particularly attached to him. I'm a super independent person, and having someone be totally dependent on me has been hard, especially when that means that every three hours I have to sit still for 45 minutes so that he can eat, and also I haven't slept more than four hours straight in 5 weeks. Up to this point it's just been HARD. Really hard. It's gotten better the past week or so, as the baby blues seem to finally have cleared up. And for you men out there: when your wife has a baby and is crying every five minutes over one thing or another, don't you dare think it's nothing serious and that it'll clear up. It is usually just hormones, but it's a really scary place to be, when you feel like you've ruined your life and just the sight of a dish that needs to be washed totally destroys you because you just KNOW that you'll never ever have time to take care of those everyday tasks again.

So all those maternal instincts that everyone talks about, the ones that are supposed to be there the second you see that wrinkly little face for the first time, didn't happen for me right away. But I think, as of this morning, they're finally kicking in! I'm so excited.


Finding time

Currently listening to: In Between Dreams, by Jack Johnson (especially the songs Never Know and Banana Pancakes)
Reminds me of: Nothing! We just bought it. But it reminds me a little of Hawaii, just because that's the way he sounds

How can one eight pound person take up so much time and energy? I thought that babies slept all the time. I'm learning differently.... But currently Judah is fascinated by the fish mobile on his aquarium swing, so I have a couple minutes of quiet. How do single mothers do this? I'm barely keeping my head above water, and Nathan is the best.

Oops....the fish, it appears, can entertain for 20 minutes but no longer. So I'm off! It's time for him to eat again. I didn't really have much to say anyway....


Hollywood Babies

Currently listening to: The Beach Boys, 20 Good Vibrations (I know, how typically southern California of me. But you should see the weather here!! I'm loving the heat and the sun, especially after all that rain we got this year.)
Reminds me of: Coming home after school when I was in about 10th grade, throwing a Beach Boys tape in my walkman, and taking a nap on the swing in our backyard.

There are a lot of scary things happening in the world lately, and I know that crazy things happen every day. But yesterday the scariest headline that I saw on CNN was the one announcing that Britney Spears is pregnant. !!!!!! What, the world needs another one of her? I am so scared to see her being a mother. Can you just see it? Do you think she'll carry the baby around in a designer bag like her chihuahua? And will the baby wear a diamond studded collar like the dog? Does she realize that babies are not just accessories? She can't just get rid of it when she gets bored. I'm reminded of one of my favorite lines from that classic movie, Clueless:
Cher: I wanna do something good for humanity.
Josh: Have you considered sterilization?
Okay, maybe that was mean. But seriously: Britney Spears as a mother? You've gotta be kidding me. Is it just me, or does she do something drastic like this every time she needs a little publicity boost?


Concert Story #1

Currently listening to: Wild Mood Swings by the Cure
Reminds me of: The story I'm about to tell

Okay, not a very interesting story, but still. My first Cure concert. It was the summer of 1996, and we had bought tickets to see the Cure at the Forum. I think it was July or August, and it was an extremely hot day. We were all just going about our business as usual when suddenly all the lights and everything went out. We thought it was maybe just a blown transformer on our block, but we soon found out that it was almost the ENTIRE west coast. I can't remember what exactly happened, but all of southern California and parts of northern CA and Washington and Oregon were out. Of course I cared about nothing but the concert, and I frantically called the Forum to make sure the show was still on. It was - they have their own generators and stuff. Anyway, the lights were back on before the show and everything was back to normal. The show was great, even though we had nosebleed seats and could hardly see the stage. But still, my first Cure experience! And the least exciting. I'll save the other stories for later...


Guilty pleasure

Around Christmas time I went to Borders to buy some gifts for people. While I was paying, the cashier asked me if I'd like to pre-order my copy of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I was astounded. The announcement of the release date had just come out the day before! Will the Harry Potter madness never end? I hope not. And I can't wait until July. Who knows when I'll have time to actually read the book, but I'll figure it out somehow.

Is it wrong of me to love Draco Malfoy the best of the characters? He's just so evil! Harry and Ron and Hermione are nice and all, but they're just a little too good. I like Draco, and I have high hopes for him. My prediction is that at some crucial part of the seventh book Draco will do a 180 and start fighting for the right side, rebelling against his father. And I think that Hermione will fall in love with him against her will and they'll wind up together. I've never liked the idea of Hermione and Ron together, though I know that's where Rowling is headed. But then, she is the queen of the unexpected, so my scenario could play out. Wouldn't it be great? They would have to sneak around a lot because you know Harry and Ron wouldn't understand or like it, and Draco's father would probably try to have Hermione killed or something.

Okay, anyway, enough of that. How silly, huh? I don't care. I have to admit that reading books that are written for kids is sometimes way more fun that books written for adults. I just finished reading Girls in Pants by Ann Brashares, the third book in the pants series. I love them. I'm reading it again. They're so beautifully and expressively written, and I love the way Brashares gets inside the heads of teenage girls so perfectly. CS Lewis said something once about reading kids books.....but I can't recall the quote at the moment.

And I gotta run anyway......


Driving Fast

Currently listening to: Puzzle by Dada. Reminds me of: my sophomore year of college.

Since the advent of Judah I have had to drive Nathan's car instead of mine. For those of you that know me, you know that this amounts to a mild form of torture. I love my car. I dreamed of it for years and finally bought it just about 5 and a half years ago. Perfect. Mustang GT, stick shift, convertible, black with black leather interior. Named her Maya. Until just 2 weeks ago, my baby. Well, I've got a new baby now, and he's worth the sacrifice. But I won't say I don't miss my car. Fortunately, Nathan's car is sufficiently fast, too. Actually faster than mine. It's a 1997 Impala SS with a Corvette engine. Nice, but just not as much fun as mine.

Yesterday I took my car out for a farewell drive. Yes, we're selling her. This weekend, if possible. I'll soon be the proud driver of a Chevy Tahoe (probably). So yesterday I fed Judah, handed him over to Nathan, and grabbed my keys. I took off on my favorite route up through the Heights. Maya handled the road perfectly, as usual, hugging all the curves, flying low and fast. But I got a little too exuberant. Didn't crash or anything, but actually felt her hop sideways on a turn I took a little too fast. I guess I'm not used to driving her much anymore. I had the top down, of course, and the air was cool but felt good. And you wouldn't believe the way the Heights smells in the spring time! Yes, even in southern California you can smell the trees and flowers and wet earth sometimes. It was one of those afternoons. I had the Dave Matthews Live at Luther College album on, and it was perfect. A perfect goodbye to my car. I know it seems silly to place so much importance on it, but I feel like getting rid of Maya means finally stepping over that line into responsible parenthood. I know that it will be worth it and so rewarding, but right now it just seems scary and irreversible.

I hope you all don't think I'm a horrible mother already! I've been told that all new parents feel this way at some point. I think that's probably true. And I think that anyone who tells you they didn't feel like that is probably lying. :)


My Sordid Past

Currently listening to: Mike Barnet's red album, which reminds me of the various Mike shows I've been to, most notably the ones at the Roxy and the M Bar in Hollywood. Good, good memories. Also reminds me of the time in my life that I was dating a guy who shared an apartment with a member of Mike's band.

I was reading a friend's blog last night (thanks for the springboard, Dave) and his recent post on archiving made me think. He was talking about how we collect things and keep them over the years as records of our past and how we feel like we have to hang on to all these things. It got me thinking about my journals. I kept a journal for 14 years, from the time I was 12 until I was about 26. I stopped about the time I got married, when I discovered that talking to my best friend Nathan was a far better outlet than writing all my feelings out. I still write sometimes, but the journal is retired. It was never a cheesy "dear diary" type of journal. I kept it in 5 subject spiral bound notebooks. So now I have 10 volumes of this thing sitting in a box in my closet. And I have no idea what to do with it. I may read through it again someday, but something tells me that's not a good idea. Nostalgia is a tricky thing and going over the past too much has a way of making me discontent with the present. Why is it we only remember things as being ideal?

I sometimes think that I'll keep my journals as something to pass on to my daughter someday, should I have one. I think it would be neat for her to be able to read the things I thought about and experienced and realize that she's not alone in her feelings, and that dopey old mom actually might understand some things after all. But then, there are things in my journals that I'm not sure I want my children to know about me. And I can't very well edit them. That wouldn't be fair.

I've instructed Nathan to destroy my journals, should anything happen to me. But why can't I do it before then? Why don't I just destroy them now? I think I feel like I'll lose that part of my life if I get rid of them. It's a really weird feeling. And even if the events I wrote about seem small to me now, the journal itself was such a huge part of my life. I remember staying up until all hours to write, hauling my journal around to school, to the beach, to classes, wherever. It went with me to Colorado, to Corona del Mar, to Trafalgar Square, to the Huntington Library, to
Thailand, to China. It's been everywhere. So I don't think I can ever bring myself to destroy it. It would be like willfully destroying part of my memory. But will it ever matter to anyone but me? I doubt it. It's nice to think that somewhere down the line someone will discover it and treasure it. But how realistic is that? Not very. For now, I guess it will just stay in the closet, and maybe someday I'll pull it out and maybe I'll laugh at it, and maybe I'll cry. Who knows?



Why is it that some people just use their blogs to complain? Is anyone really that interested? I know, is anyone really that interested in any of this stuff? But honestly, the complaints get old, don't they? Talk about something interesting! Tell a joke!

Q. What did the fish say when he ran into the concrete wall?

A. Dam!

Okay, I didn't say it had to be a GOOD joke. But you still laughed, didn't you?

Back in the game!

Ah, the smell of a computer fresh out of the box.

Beats a poopy diaper any day.

So guess what?!? He's here! Judah Donald was born on March 21 at 10:41 pm. I went into the hospital for tests that morning, and the doctor didn't like the results of the AFI, so they decided to induce labor that afternoon beginning at three. And after just about 8 hours of labor, Judah showed up! I hear that I'm lucky, and that 8 hours isn't that long. But I say it's long enough, thank you very much. I also vow never to tell horror stories to anyone. It's just mean, and besides, you really do forget the pain. I never believed anyone that said that, but it's true. I think the worst part of the whole experience was the stupid anesthesiologist (sp?) who kept trying to ask me questions while he was giving me the epidural. I was exerting all my energy just to keep breathing at that point, and he wants to know if it's a boy or a girl?!? What's it to him?! Even Nathan almost yelled at him. But at least he knew what he was doing and didn't paralyse me or anything.

Life is a strange, strange thing lately. I had no idea how much things would change. There's no way to see it coming. Right now it's just a lot of work and a lot of frustration because I don't know what Judah wants and a lot of fear of doing the wrong thing. Plus, someone told me that when you're pregnant you have 7000 percent more estrogen in your body, and now mine's trying to get rid of it all. So that's a lot of fun too.

Anyway, Judah is precious, and I know that things will get easier once I figure out what I'm doing. Nathan is, as always, my rock, and I would be in the nut house by now if it weren't for him. My friends, please pray for us when you think of it. We need it!

Oh and by the way, I will try not to focus my whole blog around baby stories! Unless they're funny ones. Like this. I have to just tell this one really fast. I was feeding Judah this morning and he was trying to eat even though he had the hiccups. Since the extra pressure couldn't come out of his mouth, it began coming out of other places. So it sounded like this: suck, hiccup, fart, burp. Nathan and I were dying! And poor Judah couldn't figure out what was happening.

Anyway, enough for now. I'm going to check the news and see what's happening in the world outside.....