Saturday, May 27, 2006

the bird report

Brace yourself for a completely un-baby-related post. Anomalousness!

First of all, I hate birds.

So I have a friend who is experimenting with online dating. She went on a date last week with a man who had seemed promising over email. In person, he turned out to be a bit of a nervous nellie. He also turned out to be a person who has a lot of birds.

How many birds?


He has sixty finches in cages, IN HIS HOUSE. Inside it. Sixty birds inside. Not outside in an aviary. Living inside his house with him.

He used to have 100 finches, but 4o are gone. I don't know where they went, whether they're dead or they moved or what. And we'll never know, because she's never the fuck going out with him again, clearly.* Because one bird is a little creepy, a few birds are quite creepy, and sixty remaining out of a hundred birds is unbelievably-fucking-I'm-dying-about-it-I'm-buried-alive-I've-fallen-out-of-my-spaceship-into-the-oxygen-less-beyond creepy.

*However, if you're reading this blog and you're a woman with 60 finches and you feel that you might be the woman for him, send me an email and we'll find a way to get you together. I hope you're out there. I hope he finds his special, freaky, nervous, bird-loving lady.

Here's what I want to know, what I enjoy puzzling over:

What were the circumstances under which he bought these birds? How did he get to a hundred? Did he buy one of these birds, take it home, like it, and come back the next day for 99 more? Did he all of a sudden decide he was into finches and did he march into the pet store and ask for 100 of them on the first go? Did he buy one bird, then fifteen more, then another one, then fifty more, et cetera? And then how did he get back down to sixty? Did he bring home 100 birds, decide it was too much and then kill them off one by one until it felt right?

In conclusion, vomit.

Monday, May 22, 2006

blown away

Christie, Dorothy, Meg, Lia, Eve, Girlysmack, Robin, Peggy, Adam and Suzanne:

I was so shy after I'd posted that last post. But I'd felt like I'd been giving such a one-sided picture of my experience, all milk and perfume and baby captions. I felt like a phony if I didn't tell more of the truth.

And what a reward. I wept (in a good way!) when each of your responses came in. I have a dear friend who's been sort of so-so about blogs, but she read my post and more especially your responses, and there the beauty of a blog was revealed.

You are all so kind, and your support really comes in like sweet fuel during this bumpy time. I want you to know that I'm deeply taking in everything you've said, and I so appreciate the level of your responses. How comforting to hear your stories, and how touching. My god, how life doles it out sometimes. I won't be shy about seeking help, and if we determine that medication's the ticket, then I won't balk. I have a fantastic therapist that I see, and I'll be talking a mile a minute in there.

I will say that most of the time, I'm on the up and up. It's just that occasionally I step where I think there's floor or ground, and instead I fall into a hole for a while.

I'll also say that it's as though Finn read the post and decided to kick it up about fifty notches for me. Since Sunday night, Finn's started looking at me, and today (Monday) he started truly gazing and smiling at me. Good God. Transcendent, transcendent feeling. Tonight he was snuggled and blanketed in my lap like a sleepy samurai warlord, and my face was just a few inches from his as he was heading into slumber. We were staring into each other's eyes, and I felt like the boundary between us just slipped away the longer we looked. He felt like every being in the world, and the only being, like life itself. That was a hole I fell into with bells on.

How can there not be improvement when sweet beings like you all send such loving energy our way? Your contribution to our well-being is real, and deeply felt. I'm thinking of each of you and wishing to return the favor. I'm willing for you that any pains in your lives lift and blow away. I hope blessings rain down on you, like the ones you sent to rain on me.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

then there's the other part

I think that postpartum depression and I are eyeing each other from across the room. I think it's trying to buy me a drink into which it's slipped a terrible roofie. That's the other part, that I haven't so much talked about.

I want to talk about it.

In my post about Finn's birth, I didn't get to the real hard parts. The real hard parts had nothing to do with physical pain. The first, and the worst, was during the second half of my cesarean. The first half - where they were pulling Finn out - was no problem. I was oddly relaxed, sort of bordering on euphoria. When Dave and I first heard his little cry from the other side of the blue curtain, I can't tell you the sweet shock of it. There was really a baby in there, ours, and that was his particular voice we were hearing for the first time. Dave went to go be with the baby, and since they wouldn't let my midwife into the operating room, I was left alone for the part where they put me back together.

That's where it started to get bad. I felt this horrible growing pressure on my chest that crept up to my neck, and it got heavier and heavier until it was all I could do to keep breathing. I tipped my head back to open my airways as far as I could, but it required 100% of my concentration to keep air coming in. The anaesthesiologist came over every couple of minutes to tell me that I was all right, and then he'd go back to chatting with some other man in scrubs. But I was truly scared about my inability to breathe. I felt wrong, like a fish struggling on land.

Dave came over, radiant and thrilled, and asked me if I wanted him to bring Finn over. Until the day I die, it will squeeze my heart terribly that I said no. I was having such a hard time breathing, and I was afraid that it would be so thrilling to see him that I would die on the spot. So the first time I saw Finn was on my friend Morgan's digital camera, when I was exhausted and blissed out of my mind on my dilotid drip in the recovery room. That detail has become unbelievably loathsome to me, seeing him first in that little camera square. And I can't stand how many people saw and held him before I did.

Then I was rolled in to see him in the neonatal ICU three hours later. I could barely stay awake to meet him, my eyes were rolling back in my head. I felt like this useless, grinning rag doll, scarcely related to him. Why is his wasted fourth cousin thrice removed being rolled in to see him? it felt like. Everything was bright and surreal and disappearing before my eyes as I kept falling asleep and dipping into tiny dreams.

The physical recovery from my c-section has been slow and tough, and as a result Dave has been Finn's main caregiver. Finn sleeps on Dave's side of the bed because once I'm reclined (I still can't lie down all the way) I can't get up to a sitting position by myself yet, so I can't respond quickly to his needs. Breastfeeding has been terribly difficult for us - five lactation consultants since his birth, anyone? - which is a wicked big can of worms. I'm pumping my milk most of the time, and having him at the breast when I feel the verve for it. When a feeding goes well, it's glorious. When a feeding goes poorly, it feels primally bad, concentratedly bad. I feel like I have nothing to offer him, that I'm a dud. I'm sobbing, he's sobbing, the atmosphere is crackling with tension.

I resent anyone but Dave who's able to love and enjoy Finn in a full, physical, lighthearted way, because I can't do it yet. And I'm jealous that Finn will gaze at Dave, right in his eyes. Now that he's just beginning to smile socially he's even given Dave some beautiful grins. But Finn looks right past me, or will fix on me neutrally for a few seconds and then move on.

I thought it was tough trying to remain graceful in labor. That was nothing. Trying to remain graceful and positive and loving now is taking more strength than anything ever has in my life. Bitterness is constantly rising in my throat, and I have to endlessly choke it back to bring my baby the clearest, best atmosphere I can muster.

Postpartum something may be brewing, and I find myself often in the fight for light. That's the other part. It's not always like this -I surface frequently, feel peace and joy and hope. But I'm teetering.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

get out your lawnchairs...

...for it's a photo parade!

I give you:

1. Lawrence of Ababia


2. The New Rude Gesture

3. Untitled, Because Why Try?

4. Foxotronic Sleeper

5. Again, Why Try?

And in parting, I give you two sides of Finn Rowley:

6. Finny Soprano/Finny Cagney

7. Fluffy Gandhi

P.S. And another thing! Sweet Jesus. I love MS Paint already, but I have just discovered the Free Form Select feature. Ergo, here is Finn on our honeymoon with us two days before he was conceived. Magic!

P.P.S. It's clear that Honeymoon Dave could clairvoyantly see and react to the mind-jello-wiggling adorableness of the phantom Future Finn.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

a very happy tina day to you

In college, I had a tradition for a while where I decided that every day was Tina Day and people should make little offerings to me. No offering was considered too small: pennies, empty matchbooks, deformed paperclips, broken pieces of tortilla chips. You just had to hand me a little thing and say Happy Tina Day. And you had to do it every day.

And now it's Mother's Day, a new version of Tina Day. I wonder what Finn is going to get me. He's probably made me a little card. He's probably going to make me some pancakes. He'll probably actually silently dedicate one of his small effortless milky pukes to me. A perfect offering. I'd eat it on toast, it's that unobjectionable.

It's 1:30 in the morning. What am I doing up? Why aren't I sleeping while I can?

Pepsi is why. I had a strategic Pepsi a few hours ago, meant to keep me awake through my traditional evening coma. It didn't take in time, so my head kept threatening to bob into my tacos. But now that it's beyond bedtime, I'm up. I just had a lovely hour and a half phone call with my mother-in-law in Australia.

This is the perfect time for non-sequiturs, this Pepsi-induced quiet awake time.

I love Finn's gums. I love his gummy mouth when he weeps. His mouth, when he weeps in earnest, takes on a Peanuts-style rounded rectangular shape. Finn has a couple of signature weeps that Dave and I find unbearably charming. One of them is, "La! La-a-a-a! La-a!" And the other is, "Nghee! Nghee!" I particularly adore his "La!" weep. I love that he doesn't know that "la" is a syllable usually used for singing. He's just using it. I hope he uses other syllables for weeping that have other connotations already. "Me!" or "You!" or "Bee!" or what have you.

Bee-ee-ee! La-a-a! Yoo-ooo-ou!

I'm starting to understand that Finn is actually my son. Up until now it's been like, my lord, what a beautiful child! I wonder whose he is! He certainly is adorable! Where are his parents? But now, he's starting to feel paisan. He's my blood, my little countryman. When he weeps against the poo or the hunger or the gas, I feel indignant on his behalf. Yeah, you gas! What the fuck? This is my boy, here! You want a piece of me?

His head smells...all right, look, we've all talked about and heard about the smell of babies. But his perfume is remarkable! It's French, I think! It's subtle and elegant. Finn would have been a goner if he were a character in "Perfume", which I think is that novel where the guy with the freakishly keen nose kills pure people to harvest their perfumey essence. Finn would have been this guy's main course. He would have been the coup, the ultimate.

Enough. Let's look at him.

It's 2am now. Closing time. I don't have to go home but I can't stay here. Good night.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006









Also, mrrraow! Look at Man and Bun, Hot out of Oven. Man is now extremely cold out of oven, but yet still hot.

By the way, that was when Finn was just a baby. He's been here for two weeks now. Now he can kick my ass just with his neck muscles alone.

I hope you didn't get any milk on you during the reading of this post. If you didn't, it's more than I can say for myself.

More later.

P.S. I milkily make out with all of you kind commenters. As I've been recuperating and your comments have been coming in, they have made me weep with all of your sweetness. Salty sweet reading. I thank you many times. XO.