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It must be seen to be believed.


I will admit that I love this photo not just for the wonderful happiness of Dog, but also for my spiffy pedicure.





Monday, September 12, 2005

The other day I was playing what I will probably forever think of as The One Album I Listened To Practically Non-Stop During My Pregnancy, Andrew Bird's Mysterious Production of Eggs (why, how apropos!), and the moment the song Fake Palindromes started, my hand, dim-witted Pavlovian appendage that it is, moved to cup my belly - the belly that is no longer there, and I felt a sharp, fleeting stab of sorrow.

What a silly thing, missing the process that led me to Riley, and yet it's there. I miss being round and unyielding, ripe with promise and anticipation. I miss the way JB would look at me and pat my stomach and murmur into my pushed-out bellybutton. All of the happy expectation with none of the actual responsibility.

After only a few short months to try and catch up with my ever-changing body image, a hurried morning's bit of scalpel work turned everything upside down again: what was once firm is now soft, a proudly rounding curve is now a puffy, scarred, deflated balloon. And despite the number of times I thought to myself how petty it was for women to bemoan their birth experience as long as it led to a healthy baby (O, how could they lose sight of the most important thing?), I'm surprised to find myself dwelling on my own birth, and feeling - well, not so great about it sometimes. I had imagined this tender escalation as I went into labor, naturallement, JB all excited and timing my contractions on some complicated piece of dive equipment, me packing my bag with everything I could possibly need; the drive to the hospital and our thrilled chatter along the way. And if I'm going to be completely honest... the robust delivery that I impress everyone by handling masterfully, not a tear shed until I lay eyes on my beautiful baby. Nurses whispering in the hall about the brave woman in Room 8.

Ahem. God, how embarrassing.

Well, I did get the beautiful baby, and I am blessed, blessed, blessed - yes, but I also got the week-long hospital stay and no normal labor whatsoever and a crapload of horrible drugs and finally, a surgical procedure that somehow takes the word "birth" right out of the equation, and sometimes I can't help it, I bemoan that shit. I regret every nanosecond I spent feeling vaguely superior, weeks ago, for being so flexible and keeping priorities in mind because I was just going to be happy to have my baby however he showed up.

Sometimes I can hardly recognize my own self in the maelstrom of emotions that are running through me. Sometimes I cry for no reason whatsoever - just bam, the waterworks are on, so sorry, do you have a tissue? Sometimes I feel like a bad mother; that there are things that should be coming to me instinctually that just aren't, that I worry and obsess over Riley nonstop and I don't know how to get a handle on it, that JB is happy and content and doesn't stare at our son as though he were a live grenade and I'm fucking jealous as hell and can't figure out why I'm the only one that's crazy and sad and terrified.

All that? It's called the baby blues. Textbook case, brought on by major life changes and the letter H for Hormones, and just like reading about pregnancy symptoms and then experiencing them (ohhh...so *that's* what a hemorrhoid is) it's both soothing to know I'm not alone, and somewhat of a letdown to be so average. Just another statistic, nothing to see here.

Every day I feel a little better - again, that's very typical, good for me! - and the majority of my day is spent being amazed and blown away by my son, not blatting endlessly into my snot-soaked sleeve. I took Riley to a doctor's appointment this morning all by myself, which involved strapping him into his Graco medieval torture device (and subsequently causing him to howl in dismay) and driving him across I-90, and I didn't sob hysterically OR drive forty miles below the speed limit, so I take that as a good sign.


It seems to me I had several people tell me how unrewarding it is to take care of a newborn, because they "just lie there like a lump" all day long. Well, I am here to tell you otherwise. Riley does indeed spend part of his day imitating a bag of flour, but at other times he is as lively as a squid, and about as easy to dress. He rarely cries, OH THANK YOU GOD, but will often furrow his brow, flail his arms, and bleat in protest when we're submitting him to such indignities as a diaper change, and it's so funny to see, the Very Angry Baby. He snorts like a little pig, he yawns huge squeaky yawns, he makes a luscious series of "eh....eh....eh" sounds while he's hoovering his dinner. When he's resting, you can watch a myriad of expressing cross his face, like clouds moving across the sky, like a Broadway actor warming up before striding on stage: Happy! Sad. Oh, so sad. ANGER! Peaceful. Confused?

There are times when he's wide awake and his bright button eyes will be looking right at my face while I'm holding him and those times, those are the very best times of all.


The time, where does it go? Babies steal it and hide it in their fat squirrel cheeks, I think. I had a thank you card to send to a relative last week, and it took four goddamn days to get it written, addressed, and stamped. I would write "Dear Kris," and it was noon and Riley was hungry. "Thank you for the" and it was 6 PM and the news was on and I needed to pick up the piles of baby washcloths littering every surface of the house and throw them in the wash. "Lovely blanket," and it was midnight, what the hell, and somebody's diaper was Highly Suspect. Four days, no lie, and what I'm saying here is please to forgive the occasional break in programming around these parts.

Now, how about some photos? I mean, I've taken one or two (JILLION) lately.

(Some of you have asked how the pets have reacted to Riley's presence. Cat does not care. Cat says she will burn all of your houses down and shit in your closet. Cat is evil. Dog, however, is curious, and upset when the baby cries. She's a little jealous, but we are giving her much love, despite her hoopty-ass fur, which is NOT growing back very well.)


Lastly, the Pregnancy page has been updated with a final belly photo.

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