A Moment of Jen
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Tuesday, June 03, 2003
posted by Jen at 6/03/2003 03:55:00 PM

Shh. The baby's sleeping!

And I should be sleeping, too, because I didn't get much last night, but for some reason I'm wide awake, so I will fill you in on Life with Baby.

First, there are, regrettably, the baby zits. Lucy's complexion was positively gorgeous until a few days ago, when the zits appeared. Now she's got 'em on her forehead, on her nose, on her cheeks, even a few on her eyelids. They look painful, but they don't seem to bother her as much as they bother me, because I keep wanting to do something helpful, like slapping a Biore Pore Strip on her T-zone. Not good.

Also, the Baby Whisperer says that a baby bringing her hands to her mouth means she's hungry, but I think that sometimes Lucy does it because she just wants to get her hands in her mouth and suck on them. In the handful of hours after she was born and before she arrived in my room, she managed to get her left hand into her mouth and suck so ferociously that she had a huge, nasty-looking blister....and I think she yearns desperately to do it again. She'll get so close, too -- she'll bring her hand right up to her mouth, and shake her hand around, and open her mouth really wide and turn her head from side to side, but she can't quite get it. Oh, sad.

And speaking of sad, there is Lucy's sad face. It'll start out with the lower lip quiver. Then her mouth will turn down in a perfect upside-down U, and her eyes will fill with tears, and her whole expression will say to you "Everything has gone HORRIBLY WRONG and nothing -- nothing, I say! -- will make it better." Not so much with the perspective from the baby. It's never, like, "Gee, I'm a little hungry, how about a little help here?" Oh, no. It's MY WORLD IS ENDING RIGHT NOW. God forbid she ever gets rejected from the college of her choice.

(Which -- and I know I'm rambling -- reminds me that it's spring, which means it's time for my absolute favorite feature in my college alumni magazine -- the Angry Letters to the Editor from the Aggrieved Alums Whose Son/Daughter/Grandchild Did Not Get into Princeton because They Probably Admitted Some Black Person.

Granted, the Aggrieved Alum will rarely come right out and say it -- they'll usually make not-too-thinly-veiled references to the university's "mindless drive toward social engineering" while advancing the dubious notion that any Princetonian's kid who can do the work should be admitted automatically -- but I think we all know what they're talking about. They ran a good one this week from Richard R. Golden, M.D., whose daughter had 1420 SATs and was on a state championship volleyball team and still got hosed. My only complaint? Dr. Golden didn't actually name his daughter, which would have ensured maximum ragging-upon from her high-school classmates once they got wind of his complaint.

Ah, well. Dr. Golden's daughter did manage to get into Amherst -- my husband's alma mater. He's doing just fine. I'm sure she will, too.)

Back to the baby!

Today at the coffee shop the girl and I committed one of the most egregious acts of public breast-feeding in the history of motherhood. It all started going terribly wrong at about 10 a.m., when Adam and I headed out for our walk and breakfast, and Adam decided to rearrange the giant basket underneath her stroller, which has become a handy catch-all for diaper bags, wallets, cell phones, water bottles, burp cloths (also known as "my clothes,") and other baby necessities. "Well," he said, removing my little embroidered pillow, "you won't be needing this."

Now: let me explain about the little embroidered pillow. It is KEY. It is the only thing that stands between outside-of-the-house breastfeeding success and disaster.

I'm basing this, of course, on the one time I've managed to actually breast-feed the girl outside of the house. Which was at the breastfeeding support group that meets Monday afternoons at the hospital. Where everyone breast-feeds. Where, if you don't have one of your boobs hanging out in the wind by the end of the class, you're pretty much freak of the week. Lucy and I felt perfectly comfortable breast-feeding there, and I was encouraged. Today the breast-feeding support group, tomorrow the world!

So yesterday I had my pillow, and everything worked out fine. But today, I foolishly let Adam remove the little embroidered pillow, figuring that I wouldn't need it, because I wouldn't be feeding her, because she ate at 9:30 and wouldn't need to eat again until 12:30 and I'd be home by then.

Now: I figured she ate at 9:30 and wouldn't need to eat again until 12:30 on some vague, ephemeral notion of a schedule to which my baby is in no way adhering. Last night? Little girlfriend ate, like, every hour. I didn't put my shirt on from 8:30 p.m. until after midnight. And I missed large pertinent chunks of "For Love or Money" because I was either burping Lucy or trying all my tricks to calm her down, figuring she couldn't possibly be hungry again (and, of course, she was. Every time). So now all I know is that one Fembot scribbled over another Fembot's painting, and that the bachelor looks like a miniaturized, charisma-free version of Joe Millionaire. Are they going to rerun it, like they did with the Martha movie?

So off we went for breakfast, and then we met Debbie and her little guy Max for a walk, and we walked and walked, and then by noon we were in the coffee shop -- the very same one where I used to bring my laptop and do my work, back when I did work -- and Lucy's eyes fluttered open.

And then her mouth fluttered open. And then she started to cry. And there I was, with a screaming, hungry baby, a coffee shop full of people, and no little embroidered pillow.

Okay, I thought, taking a deep breath. I can do this. And if I can't do this I can always just stick her back in the stroller and cover three blocks as fast as I can.

So I draped her blanket over my shoulder, unhooked my bra, balanced Lucy on my leg, bent over, and tried to get her to latch on.

And you know what? She did it. I was so happy I barely noticed that she'd dislodged her little screen-of-privacy blankie, mid-suck, and that I was basically flashing the entire latte-drinking population of our little corner of Philadelphia.

Oh, well.

We ended up hurrying home anyhow, where she nursed for another forty-five minutes.

Now she's sleeping.

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