Our baby daughter Cordelia is almost a year old. She is, you will be pleased to hear, still alive. Most of the credit for her continued survival goes to my wife, who has given Cordelia all but one of her baths. If that job was left to me, it would only be a matter of time before my daughter was dirty at the same time as the dishwasher was empty, and I would get a great idea for how to save a little time.
This week, Cordelia lived through her first New Year’s Eve. Normally, this is a night for celebration, wild partying, carrying on, and savoring life. Thus, it is the first holiday that having a baby really, really fucks up.
How I Spent New Year’s Eve, Pre-Baby
Chatting with friends.
Living life the way it was meant to be lived.
How I Spent My First Post-Parental New Year’s Eve
|Leave party, taking pissed-off baby with me. Leaving wife behind to experience refreshing human contact.
|Put baby to bed.
|Play computer games alone in basement.
|Go upstairs. Do dishes.
|Drink tequila alone. Watch countdown on TV.
|Walk outdoors. Drink more tequila.
|Get cold. Go inside and stare at sleeping baby, who rested soundly oblivious to her daddy’s creepy stare.
|Go back downstairs. Play computer games until 5 AM.
Every once in a while, I get one of my parenting books, read about the richness of life becoming a parent was supposed to give me, and cackle unnervingly.
Another Advance In our Baby’s Life
Cordelia can now stand alone, without holding on to anything. This was, of course, big news in the household.
When she manages to stand up, her little infant brain always goes through the same several steps:
i. Hey! I am standing!
ii. This is really great!
iii. I will now scream and wave my arms around frantically, to signal my joy to all nearby.
The act of waving her arms upsets her balance, however, causing her to fall over. So she tries to stand back up, and the process begins again.
If Cordelia could speak English, I would explain to her that standing up is a very Zen thing. The only way she can do it is to not care too much that she is doing it. Only then can she succeed.
Yet Another Great Advance In our Baby’s Life
She tried to pick her nose and eat it for the very first time.
She didn’t have much luck. She rubbed her nose and a booger came off on her fingers. She looked at it, intrigued, and then tried to get it into her mouth. It ws sticky and small though, and her aim was poor, so she only managed to smear it all over her face.
At this time, daddy, struggling to control the surge of bile rising in his throat, stepped in and took control of the situation.
Nose-picking is interesting. I mean, babies are generally gross in this low level, bearable sort of way. But now matter how much you like any particular child, seeing her pick her nose and eat it makes you want to put her in a sack for a little while.
Caring For the Anus
I have been informed by my wife that, when changing the baby, I should occasionally apply soothing cream to her anus. Cordelia’s inner butt region can get red and annoyed. When I tried to find out what tool or implement was provided for this task, I was told that my finger would do nicely.
I do not like this. I do not want to deal with my own anus, let alone the anus of another. I figure, in this free market, service-driven society, where there is tools and equipment and Sharper Image gear to deal with just about any conceivable need, someone could at least come up with something I could use to deal with her anus. Say, a little sponge stuck to the end of a chopstick.
In fact, I do not think people should have anuses at all. I think I should just have a little drawer down there. And every once in a while, I’d hear a ringing noise and I’d drop my pants and open the drawer, and there would be several tiny, rocklike nodules in there, and I take them out and give them away and they’d be used to pave roads or something.
I suppose, in summary, what I am trying to say is that the human body is gross and stupid. But as long as we are smart and ingenious, and we have wives around to beg desperately to apply things with their own fingers, we will get able to get through life somehow.
Each Baby Is Irritating In Its Own Special Way
Cordelia figured out how to turn the TV off and on. And off and on and off and on. This was irritating, since it interfered with what the baby was supposed to be doing: watching her mommy play Nintendo.
So if you come over to our house and wonder why we taped a big chunk of cardboard over the TV’s power button, well, duh.