Blog-o! Notes from

Wed, 14 Apr 2004
I forgot one more Delphine milestone; this weekend, she put something in something else! Until now she has been the Queen of Chaos, the Renter of Things Asunder, the knocker down of neat piles and puller-outer of things from other things. So this is exciting and new and heralds days of putting things away and tidying up.
[Posted at 15:57 by Amy Brown] link
Mon, 12 Apr 2004
Eleven Months

Just in time for her eleven-month birthday, there is finally something new to report in the land of Delphine.

First, she is growing at least one, and perhaps two new teeth on top. It has been five months since the two on the bottom came in, so these are long-awaited. They don't seem to be giving her much trouble at the moment. They will come in handy in her new practice of taking bites out of a piece of fruit; last week I shared a plum with her.

Second, yesterday she stood by herself, once when playing with Blake and once with Morgan. She can walk quite nicely if you hold both her hands, so sometime soon she'll put it all together and ta-da! I'll have a toddler. I think my prior estimate of walking before she's a year old was optimistic; I didn't anticipate that her development would plateau for a month or two as it has. Darn these non-deterministic babies.

And finally, I gave her egg over the weekend (in chopped liver and fruit kugel; Passover is a very egg-intensive holiday) and she hasn't yet imploded, exploded, broken out in hives or turned into a turnip, so I think I can assume she's not allergic to eggs. This is good, because it means she can have birthday cake next month. And generally it means that lots of food that was verboten is now in her repertoire, so it will make feeding her much easier.

[Posted at 15:35 by Amy Brown] link
Sun, 11 Apr 2004
Holiday Eating

Today we had Morgan and Erik over for a Passover/Easter feast. Morgan made saucy chicken and chopped liver, and I made fruit kugel and Passover brownies and roasted asparagus. (The asparagus was an afterthought when I realized we didn't have any vegetables.) We also had Easter eggs with the brownies for dessert.

The recipes for Morgan's saucy chicken and my kugel both came out of the yellow book and they both turned out really well. The Passover brownies were made from my mother-in-law's recipe. They didn't turn out so well because they didn't cook through; I didn't realize until this morning when I tried to turn them out of the pan. I glued the whole mess together with Glossy Chocolate Frosting made from a recipe in my old Betty Crocker book, and it worked really well. I thought the whole meal turned out great, considering all the recipes we used were new to us.

We all ate and ate until we couldn't move, and then squeezed in a little more, and now I'm so tired. It was good; I love holiday food.

[Posted at 21:29 by Amy Brown] link
Thu, 08 Apr 2004

I had a meltdown yesterday. I was trying to play on the computer and Del wanted me to hold her, but I knew if I did she'd try and mess with the keyboard and grab things and generally be a pain in the ass. So I gave her some toys to play with, but she wasn't interested. Then I gave her some objects which, while not technically toys and therefore more interesting than actual toys, are still pretty safe; I gave her a yellow translucent set square from an old math set. I gave her a red glass dreidel I bought in Venice. I gave her a rolly drafting ruler. I gave her the very best of my random desk drawer crap, and she still wasn't interested. I begged and pleaded with her to just sit down and play for a few minutes, but she just hung onto my leg and cried to be picked up.

Finally I lost it. I yelled, "Would you just shut up!", and picked up the keyboard and banged it on the desk, which made a very satisfying and very loud noise, and scared the crap out of her and made her really cry ("I'll give you something to cry about!") and then I didn't even have the decency to feel bad. Instead I got up and stormed around the house cleaning up, because the mess which I had unsuccessfully being trying to clean up all day was playing on my nerves. Delphine crawled around after me, sobbing miserably.

After a couple of minutes I had cleaned up the worst of the mess and relieved some frustration, and I gathered the poor weeping bundle into my arms and we cuddled and nursed in the rocking chair and I apologized for scaring her and for getting angry, and I told her I love her.

And of course all I achieved in the end was teaching her that when Mummy sits at the computer Very Bad Things happen and it is Scary, and you should always cry when Mummy sits at the computer, just in case. Still, I taught myself that getting angry at a baby is not only useless, it is often actually counter-productive.

I have attachment parented myself into a corner. I've always held Delphine a lot, because she is happier being held than not. I don't know if that's standard baby behaviour, or if it's my fault for not somehow teaching her to play by herself. Indeed, she does play by herself sometimes, and I might be overstating the amount of time she needs to be held. And maybe soon enough she won't want to be held at all, and I will wonder what I was complaining about. But for right now, it seems like she is always in my arms. I hold her when I do housework, I hold her when I cook (if it's safe), I hold her when she naps. She's eleven months old! I need my arms back! I love it when Blake comes home and takes her so that I can be free to cook and wash dishes without her clinging to my legs. (Cooking and washing dishes is my Fun Me Time! Fuck!)

And at the same time I feel like such a loser for complaining about my terribly difficult life when my friend Debbie back home is holding down three paying jobs at the same time as bringing up her son. When I know there are single Moms out there who would love my problems. I feel like such a asshole for not being able to handle a baby as sweet and calm as Delphine without losing my temper.

This problem is exacerbated by a concurrent but largely unrelated crisis of confidence I'm having about my life in general. I've been thinking a lot about what I want to do with myself, and I'm pretty displeased with myself so far. I make lots of jokes about being a slacker and an underacheiver, but underneath I really believe I should do something useful with my time on this earth. It's true that being a good mother is important work, but I don't believe that it is enough of a contribution to the world; it's a good start, but one should give more if one has more to give, which I do.

I'm disappointed in myself that I haven't done more. I'm disappointed that I only have a lousy three-year degree. I fear that I will get to be thirty-five or forty and realize my life is half over and I still haven't done anything useful or valuable. I'm pissed off that I have this big meaty brain and I don't have anything to show for it, no job, no shiny post-grad degree, nothing except a small child with a big meaty brain of her own. I fear that I really am lazy and stupid, like I call myself all the time.

I still don't know what I should do when I grow up, but I'm starting to suspect that I have already grown up and the time to do anything is running short.

[Posted at 14:21 by Amy Brown] link