Monday, December 31, 2007


As I have pretty much used up all of my stories about grad school – well, at least those that are safe for publishing – I have finally decided to move my blog. I haven’t gone far, but the title no longer ties me into any particular theme. I won’t be tied down, man!

Come join me at!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Babies are weird, man

From the age of 12 to about 16, babysitting was my main source of income. I have also been an aunt since the age of 14. As such, I have had my fair share of putting babies and kids to bed. In my experience, babies who cry themselves to sleep start off with gusto and then taper off over the next 10-15 minutes with maybe one last, pathetic “Eh!” before finally settling down to sleep for the night.

Not my baby.

My baby doesn’t cry himself to sleep at all… or so we thought. Lately, he has been protesting his naps and bedtime about fifty percent of the time. When he does cry, instead of the 10-15 minutes of winding down exhibited by typical babies, Jack does this:

“AAAAHHHHHH!” (breath) “AAAAHHHHHH!” (breath) “AAAAHHHHHH!” (breath) “AAAAHHHHHH!” (breath) “AAAAHHHHHH!” (breath) “AAAAHHHHHH!” (breath)
“AAAAHHHHHH!” (silence)

You think that last silence is just him taking a breath for the next yell, but… nope! He’s done! The whole process takes maybe 2-3 minutes. On a bad night, it takes 15. It’s at these times that I wish we had a video monitor just so I could see what the heck he’s doing in there. Does he fall asleep mid cry? Does he just decide he’s too tired for all that effort? He’s usually standing up when I leave, so at what point does he lie down?

On nights like these, this is what I imagine is happening in his head:

Why are you leaving me in here all alone? I want another story! I don’t want this stupid bink, I want a story! (snatches bink from mouth, throws it on floor) STORY STORY STORY STORY STORY! (looks around crib, finds second bink, picks it up for the express purpose of throwing it on the floor) I can’t BELIEVE they left me in here all alone! And with no binks! I’m in my bed, I get to have a bink! That’s the rule! How am I supposed to go to sleep with no bink? WHERE IS MY BIN-- (notices third and fourth spare binks in the crib) Oh, wait. There’s one. (puts bink in mouth, ceases crying, lies down, strokes blankie, goes to sleep.)

But of course, I don’t know. All I know is that we have to listen carefully to hear the difference between angry, “I don’t WANNA go to sleep” yells and scared “I want my mommy and where is my bink*?” cries which don’t end, but just get louder.

So, yeah. Babies are weird.

*All four of your binks are on the FLOOR WHERE YOU THREW THEM. Sigh.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Some firsts I'd rather skip

The first year of your child's life is just a series of milestones, one after the other. The first smile. The first word. The first steps. The first trip to the emergency room.

Yes, last Sunday, The Husband and I had the delightful pleasure of taking our baby to the ER to make sure he had not jammed his teeth back up into his head possibly embedding them in his brain. (Short version: He hadn't.) It had happened very suddenly. We had just gotten back from church and The Husband was making grilled cheese sandwiches while I searched for a recipe for cranberry bread and Jack played in the cabinet with the pots and pans. The next thing we knew, he had fallen on his face and blood was pouring from his mouth. Mouths bleed a lot, people.

This was not our first experience with this phenomenon, because Jack has fallen on his mouth at least four other times this year. This was more blood than I had seen, however, and I find bleeding from the mouth particularly troubling, as it is very difficult to see the extent of the damage what with all the crying and wailing and blood pouring out and all. Does he need stitches? Who can tell? At any rate, I held Jack upside down to try and look in there and in the brief flashes I could get, it looked to me like Jack's two front teeth had receded into his gums by at least 50%. I said, "That's it, we're going to the emergency room," and off we went.

I should take a moment here to tell The Husband's side of the story, which is that I "panic" every time Jack gets hurt. He bases this claim on the way I say, "Oh! He's bleeding! Oh! Oh! The blood! Does he need stitches? Should we take him to the ER? How do we clean it? Oh, he's swollen! His lip is swollen! The blood! The blood!" and things along those lines. But it is my position that I do not panic, it's just that I let The Husband be the one in charge of determining the extent of the damage while I take over the job of comforting the screaming, bleeding baby. I do this because I can let him be the one in charge. He's right there, all ready to take charge with his cool, calm, former lifeguard head. If he were not there, however, I would be quite capable of cleaning up the blood and driving to the ER all by myself, because I'd have to be. So no, I don't panic.

So. The ER. The Husband and I were pretty sure that Jack's teeth were probably fine, because he wasn't even crying anymore by the time we were packing him into his car seat, but we weren't going to take any chances with his teeth. He was triaged and registered within 20 minutes of our arrival, and then we had to settle down to wait. The Husband bought Jack a muffin because none of us had had lunch, and Jack had no problems chomping away at it. By the time we were finally seen by the nurse practitioner, Jack was biting a paper cup and pulling on it with his hands, further convincing us that his teeth were fine.

When the NP took a look, he told us that Jack had split his funiculus (that piece of skin that connects the top lip to the gums), but that his teeth looked fine to him. His gums had just swollen up, and that was what made me think his teeth had been jammed. The NP did suggest that we get a dentist to take an x-ray to make sure there was no root damage, and we did that on Saturday. Actually, we didn't. We took him to the dentist, but the dentist said an x-ray wasn't really necessary since Jack's teeth weren't even chipped.

And so it all ended well. Jack's teeth are fine, his funiculus appears to have healed, and we've all agreed that he has filled his quota of accidents for the next year and there will be no more falling on his mouth. We've AGREED.