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The theme for our nursery is, "Safari," which does not mean much except that we hung pictures from our trip to South Africa on the walls. I also found some safari themed wall decals at a big box store, and I put them on the walls above the crib and above the changing area.

Baby spends quite a bit of time in the changing area, which my husband affectionately calls Party Town. On the wall directly above Party Town, there are several decals: a zebra, a tuft of grass, a monkey, a few leaves, and a giraffe. The tuft of grass is about six inches from where Baby's head rests when he visits Party Town, and Baby loves, loves, loves to stare at that tuft of grass. He loves it so much that my husband and I have taken to calling that decal, "Grassy." We have even narrated (yes, out loud) a whole friendship between Baby and Grassy. On almost every visit to Party Town, Baby stares at the grass decal, and one of us (frequently, both of us) will talk to Baby about his best friend Grassy.

Yesterday, when my husband came home from work, we enjoyed that rare and precious commodity: time to talk to each other. I talked about the circus that is our local post office and about Baby's sleep patterns. Then, I shared the following:

"Today, [Baby] noticed the zebra next to Grassy. He looked skeptical, so I explained that Zebra was a friend of Grassy's, and that they could all three be friends."

In the brief, yet distinct, moment of silence that followed, I decided to keep a closer eye on the line between Momma/Baby World and Momma/(Still) An Intelligent, Creative, Interesting Adult World.



Today marks Baby's First Month, along with many other firsts. In order of appearance:

(1) I managed to get Baby into the Moby wrap long enough to leave the apartment. This is a major accomplishment. It is rainy here in Brooklyn, and we have no rain cover for the stroller -- so a walk to the doctor's office with the stroller seemed irresponsible.

(2) Baby's first bus ride. He slept through it - which is about how exciting it was.

(3) Baby's first shot. As expected, he wailed and howled. The doctor wondered aloud what was wrong and reminded Baby that the whole thing was over and finished - no need to cry, apparently.

(4) My first migraine while I was home alone with Baby. Migraines are not just big headaches - though they do include a big, fat, awful, eye-splitting headache. My migraines always have a prelude of about twenty minutes of distorted vision (known as "aura," which makes it sound so much lovelier than it actually is). This temporary loss of my ability to see, followed by a terrible headache, along with a side of nausea make having a migraine while home alone with Baby terrifying. More terrifying than watching him get his first shot. And more terrifying than riding the bus home with what seemed like every sick and dysfunctional adult in the downtown Brooklyn area.

I am happy to report that Baby is sleeping soundly now (and weighed in at 11.2 lbs today!), and that I am through the worst of the headache. God willing, I can get a nap in, and the rest of the day will involve a little less drama.


Saying The Magic Word

Baby was crying on Saturday evening - on and off from around 6:30 until around 8:15.

I have been told, and I have read, that such limited crying qualifies Baby for the "easy" category of babies. Allow me to state for the record that describing a newborn as "easy" to a Momma In Training falls flat, very flat, and with a great thud as it hits the floor. Perhaps, instead of categorizing Baby as "easy," we could start referring to this category of babies as "Thank The Great Baby Lottery That Your Baby Is Not Colicky And Putting You Through The Paces For Hours And Hours (And More Hours) Of Unconsolable Crying" -- or "TTGBLTYBINCAPYTTPFHAH(AMH)OUC" babies, for ease of reference.

So, on Saturday evening, my TTGBLTYBINCAPYTTPFHAH(AMH)OUC baby woke up from a nap around 6:00 pm. I nursed Baby, changed Baby, and nursed Baby again until he appeared contentedly replete. Soon, instead of drifting off into a milk coma, Baby began to cry, a great heaving sob and wail of a cry with a just a dash of what seemed like shouting.

Baby's diaper was clean and dry. He was full and uninterested in nursing again. I was cuddling him as much as he would let me in mid-wail. What then? I admit that I frequently (albeit irrationally) ask him what is wrong at these moments, and then I start to repeat that everything is okay and that there is no need to cry.

But sometimes there is a need to cry. The truth is that my ability to withstand Baby's crying diminishes as the day progresses. Gradually, the brilliance of whatever calming powers I once commanded fades. And by, oh, let's say 8:12 pm, if Baby is screaming in my ear, and I have no idea how to make him feel better, I am shedding a few tears of my own.

So it was on Saturday. Baby wailing. I, Momma In Training, holding Baby, trying to comfort him and to hide my own tears. Then, in a moment of desperation known only to those who have cared for a newborn, I whispered ever so quietly to Baby, "Please stop." And he did.

Not only did he stop, but he fell into the holy grail known to parents as Deep Sleep.

Gentle miracle granted by The Great Baby Lottery?
Baby's stern desire to make me use the magic word?

I have no explanation. Not even a hypothesis.

To all the Mommas In Training out there, I offer this story to highlight the occasional tragicomic absurdity of our circumstances. I raise my glass to all of you and your Babies, TTGBLTYBINCAPYTTPFHAH(AMH)OUC or otherwise. Here's to doing the best we can. Cheers.


The Day The Belly Button Fell Off

Last week marked my husband's return to work -- and the inevitable first week that I would be home alone with Baby. All was well until my baby's belly button fell off.

It was Day Two of My First Week Alone, at around 4:00 pm, only two more hours until my husband would be home, at which time I desperately hoped to take a shower. I was semi-confidently nursing Baby on the couch. Suddenly, Baby looked up at me, scrunched his face, and let out a wail to end all wails. When I picked him up to see what might have caused Baby's Suffering Wail, what was left of his umbilical cord fell from his adorable tummy onto the couch. Convinced that I had somehow painfully caused the thing to detach while nursing him, I started crying, too.

Nevertheless, in an effort to soothe Baby's cries, I started nursing him again. And although nursing soothed Baby, I was in an outright panic. I put the belly button on the couch cushion next to me and decided that I absolutely had to get to the nursery so that I could look up umbilical cords in The Baby Book.

I attempted to continue to nurse Baby as I made my way to the nursery. This proved to have been a mistake. When I finally made it to The Baby Book, Baby vomited all over himself and my chest.

At this point, I felt sure that I was unfit to be a mother. Not only had I knocked off my precious one's umbilical cord (the symbolism of such a brutal act was not lost on me), but then I ostensibly caused him to vomit all over himself. Now I had a baby in wet, spit-up clothes with a missing umbilical cord.

I changed Baby and within an hour we were back to "normal." When my husband came home and asked how my/our day was, I pointed to the umbilical cord that was still on the couch cushion. He picked it up, examined it, and proclaimed, "Cool."