Archive | November, 2011

Our baby is totally full of shit

17 Nov

At least that is what they told me at daycare. And you know what? They’re right. At just over 11 months old, BB weighs in at a hefty 24-ish pounds. For breakfast, he eats a whole mashed banana and some brown rice cereal. But he’s still hungry. For lunch, he eats two ‘packets’ of food (one vegetable, one fruit). But he’s still hungry. For dinner, he eats another two packets or jars of food (one vegetable, one fruit). And he nurses four times a day.

This is, let’s see, 18-24 ounces of food a day, plus whatever he gets from breastfeeding? We’re in size 4 diapers at the moment, and at least overnight, it is getting consistently too small to hold the prodigious amount of waste. Sometimes at least another giant poop during the day as well.

So when I picked him up from daycare, they told me that they’re burning through diapers with him, and that there might be something wrong with him because he poops so much. The whole wheat side of me was thinking, well, no wonder, he’s eating a frickin’ pound and a half of food a day. If it didn’t come out someplace, I’d be rather worried. We’re still worried enough that a call to livingoutsidethescreen the pediatrician is still probably in the works.

Of course, the frosting side of me is fascinated with the fact that basically a total stranger now has opinions about my baby, and that those opinions are based on experiences with him that I am not really privy to. It’s not like I can say, well, how do you know, you don’t even know BB! Because, of course, they do. They know what he’s like with other kids, what he’s like with adults who are not his parents, what toys he likes, how he sleeps, the whole lot. And they have opinions about it! When other parents come to pick up their kids, I wonder, do they point at BB and say, ‘that’s the one who takes world-class shits’? Or that he’s pensive (as our friend Sarah mentioned to me at the playground)? It’s not at all that I disagree with the assessments, it’s just that as his personality evolves and manifests as behaviors, looks, attitudes, and expressions, these assessments are largely out of our hands. Scary!

Honesty, honestly

14 Nov

Our downstairs neighbor told us that her 4-year-old daughter has been asking questions about her vagina, which is freaking her husband out. His solution is kind of brilliant, really. He’s decided it’s all going to be the tushie – that the butt is the back tushie, and the vagina is the front tushie. Now they’re trying to figure out how to talk to her about her body parts. As the mom works for a global non-profit dealing with public health and contraception, it’s pretty clear that Papa Smurf is going to lose this particular battle. As she says, body parts have names, and she is going to teach her what those names are.

I don’t know whether or not we are going to be parents who lie to their kids. I’m not such an upstanding moral person that I’m unwilling on principle to lie to my children (what would that principle be, really? The truth is always better? Really?). I was reading Michael Chabon’s (uneven, but excellent in spots) book Manhood for Amateurs about what he did when his kids asked him about drug use. How many times, daddy, did you smoke pot? He actually responded well, with the underlying desire to not lie to his children. Something like, I don’t really know how to talk to you about this stuff, but I want to try to be honest. Well-played, soul-searching Berkeley man.

When I was in middle school, my Best Friend Forever used to get free milks from the milk kid during lunch. I don’t know if he really leaned on the kid, or was just friends with him, or it was a kind of mutually tacit “who fucking cares” kind of situation. But in spring, the assistant principal caught him at it, and dragged him into his office:

We know, he tells my BFF, that you’ve been stealing milk.
(oh, shit)
How many milks did you steal?
(um, ok, it’s April, two milks a day, carry the two)…”like, 300?

The pure shock on the assistant principal’s face let BFF know that he’d been expecting an answer like more like 6. Truth-telling can be over-rated, I tell you. Over-rated.

My own feelings about lying to Brooklyn Baby are that the legitimate justification for lying is to preserve magic, but not to preserve innocence. This is why it is ok to lie about the Tooth Fairy, but not to lie about death or sex or drug use. I’m happy for kid to believe that there are dragons in the world, for example. Or fairies. Or, I mean, when it comes down to it, Elijah for that matter.

But I’m not really in the game when it comes to lying to BB about whether it’s ok or not to do drugs. Some drugs are legal and some are illegal, some have bad effects on people and their relationships, while also having really interesting effects on perception and your personality. That society deems methadone controlled but legal, but heroin illegal, is an arbitrary thing, managed by pharma and political stakeholders as much as medical decision-makers. Alcohol versus marijuana? Really?

Ditto sex. I’m not really looking forward to uncomfortable conversations, but I’m also not going to pretend that he doesn’t have a penis. There’s no front tushie for this one, sorry. This may be a finer line between innocence and magic, and that sounds about right, actually.

Of course, we’ll see. The whole thing is much more practically a combination of who we are as parents, who he becomes as a person, and the circumstances in which we find ourselves. But the innocence/magic distinction is an early attempt to place a marker in the sand.

Date night!

14 Nov

With mother-in-law in town, this provides opportunity for wife and I to go out on the town. After barely missing the movie we intended to see, we thought we would have a few drinks and a bit of food, around Union Square. Lovely lovely.

Walking up Broadway, we notice a middle-aged couple, pretty clearly on a first (or early) date, making out in front of a bar/restaurant. Which is cool, man, really, because we both hear enough stories from single friends about how difficult it is to have a good date, with a normal person. So rock on, snogging old people! We support you!

But then as we got closer, they were still pretty much going at it. Which got a little bit uncomfortable. And then, just as we passed, they pulled apart, and dude leaned in and said, in completely smarmy voice, “Was that good?” To which I replied to baby mama, walking just past them, “Oh yeah, that WAS good!”

So now our new thing is to give each other the creeptastic “Was that good?” anytime after we kiss. It’s like adding a little bit of spice to our staid romantic lives. And that spice is Epimedium grandiflorum.