Tag Archives: Babies

Important revelations from my sabbatical

Janet > Michael

Babies don’t need diapers

For my seven-year-old fanbase

Last night a friend of mine told me that her seven-year-old daughter reads my blog. I couldn’t have been more delighted if she had told me that Salman Rushdie was a fan. Granted, her daughter has also read the entire Goosebumps series, but I feel like if you can hold a precocious seven-year-old’s attention even for a minute, you are doing something right.

This also opens up a huge YA market for me that I hadn’t previously thought about exploiting. From now on when I write, I will consider, “Would a young reader like this post?” Adjusting my audience should be easy. For example, how hard is it to tell you about my weekend in the language of the Sweet Valley Twins? Not hard at all it turns out.

After I got out of school at 5 o’clock on Friday, I called my friend Harper* Wakefield to meet me downtown for hotdogs and sodas. Harper wore sequined silver tap shoes and a white peasant dress. I wore jeans and boots because I am not as crazy for fashion as she is. She would sleep in tap shoes if she could whereas I am most comfortable in an oversized sweater. And how she finds anything in that messy closet of hers I’ll never know. Her mom must be furious! Anyway, when we rolled up to the concert in her stroller, Harper wanted to prance around in front of all the boys, but I wanted to go to a restaurant and talk quietly about books and newspapers with platonic friends. Because last weekend we did everything she wanted to do (ate cookies, went swimming, colored), she agreed to come with me to the restaurant, but only if she got a balloon first. Even though I knew she’d just lose it and make a big scene, I said okay. And what do you think happened? Sure enough, an hour later the balloon was floating up into the sky and Harper was crying about it. But even though she acts like a big baby sometimes, I can’t help but feel bad for her when she cries. She wears her heart on her sleeve, that one. Not like me. I’m all bottled up inside like champagne or a semi-automatic gun waiting to be triggered. Speaking of champagne, later that night I drank too many big-girl sodas and left my credit card at the bar for the second weekend in a row. I felt like such a nincompoop! Especially on Saturday morning when I discovered I had slept in a neighbor’s vegetable garden and my underpants were missing as well. Haha! What kind of silly mixed-up scenario would leave a girl without her underpants? My mother’s going to kill me when she finds out we have to make yet another trip to the Junior’s Department at the mall. I guess what I don’t own in sparkly tap shoes, I make up for in floral underpants! Haha!

*Names have not been changed to protect the innocent, because how innocent are you really at four years old? At 28 I’m hardly much older, and yet I don’t see anybody trying to protect me. Okay, I’m a little older. Eat my dust, little girls!

Pregnancy rehab

I have always believed that the surest way for a woman to quit drinking is for her to get pregnant, which is why I encourage all female alcoholics to get knocked up. The same goes for crack addicts. Don’t spend tens of thousands of dollars on rehab; just make the small investment of having a child. Once you’re pregnant you won’t need the same substances that you needed before because you’ll be so high on being a mom.

I have to laugh when I see all those rich celebrities entering Promises or the Betty Ford Center. Use your brains, ladies! Use your brains by using your uterus (uteri?). Your own bodies contain all the tools you’ll need to combat your deadly addictions. And these days semen is so readily available that people are cooking pastries with it.* So please, fertile alcoholics, take my advice by putting down the bottle and picking up a baby. Your liver, if not your progeny, will thank you.

Wait, what’s good advice again?

*Eating semen pastries will not make you pregnant.

How to kill bedbugs with your bare hands*

I know a family recently transplanted from Brooklyn. They gave me a tour of their new house down the street. “And this,” they said, “is the shed where we keep all of our stuff from New York.” Their many boxes of books and clothes and sheets had been relegated to a utility shed in the backyard where they held forth with a lawn mower and a broke-down stove. My friends’ personal belongings would have to remain there for a year because that’s how long bedbug eggs can live. I slowly backed away from the shed. These critters crawl out of your mattress at night, anesthetize you, then suck your blood. They destroy relationships, couches, and peace of mind. I did not want them anywhere near me. This guy, on the other hand, is crazy about them:

He took a glass jar swarming with thousands of hungry specimens of Cimex lectularius, better known as bedbugs. The small, roachy-looking bloodsuckers have been spreading through the nation’s homes and hotels at such a hyperventilated pace that by next year they are expected to displace cockroaches and termites as America’s leading domestic pest insect.

. . . . Mr. Sorkin pushed up his shirt sleeve and pressed the mesh end of the jar against the inside of his right arm. Roused to a frenzy by the twin cues of heat and carbon dioxide that “in evolution equal host,” said Mr. Sorkin, the insects scrambled toward the lid, thrust out their stylets and began to feed. For a good 10 minutes, Mr. Sorkin sat there with the proud placidity of a donor at a blood bank. He did not budge. He held the jar. He let the bedbugs bite.

“I can hardly feel it,” he said matter-of-factly, “and they do need to eat.”

You know what else needs to eat? Flesh-eating bacteria. But you don’t see me offering my leg below the knee. Zombies also get hungry. And tigers with rabies. Do you see what I’m getting at here? Have I made my point? Cannibals die if they don’t have a steady supply of brains.

My mom has already dealt with one of her children having a bedbug infestation and I feel like if it happens again she will be like one of those mothers during the Black Death, quarantining her sick children in the house and walking away forever. Those things are so hard to get rid of, at a certain point you just have to cut your losses. This goes for children as well as bedbugs, but at least children don’t suck your blood. Although my kids will because I’m going to have an affair with a vampire bat.

*This blog title was written purely with web traffic in mind. Sorry if I misled you. Good luck with your bedbugs.

Sign that my “inner dork” is transitioning to “inner married lady”

Lately when I sit with my Toshiba notebook in my lap for hours on end, I find myself thinking, “Is this bad for my ovaries?”

Trying to recreate the turtle/toad/spider meme magic

Thanks to cVillain’s recent link, my blog has seen a 500% spike in traffic. It’s clear that I need to capitalize on this unforeseen fame by following up the turtle/toad/spider picture with something equally awesome. I don’t want to alienate my new fans who enjoyed the cute-tower-of-baby-creatures formula. That formula kicks ass. Why fix something that’s not broken? Therefore I give you the sequels to my triumphant turtle/toad/spider photograph (click on the thumbnails for the larger images):

Pig on Frog on Big Boy

 Pig on Frog on Big Boy

I actually saved these losers from drowning in a bubble bath.


 Pig on Monkey on Chick

Pig on Monkey* on Chick

These doofuses were riding on a skateboard about to go over a cliff, so I rescued them.

*The monkey has not yet mounted the chick, but he is planning to after I wind him up. 


Finally, my chef d’oeuvre:

 Baby on Shark on Creche

Baby on Shark on Nativity Scene

These guys were actually about to perish in a chemical explosion, but I pulled them to safety just in time. The shark has PTSD but is otherwise okay.

Something cute I fished out of the pool filter today

I opened my parents’ pool filter today and there was this turtle, just barely afloat, with two resourceful friends riding the crown of her back. In the chlorine around them, dead frogs and insects bobbed belly-up, not nearly so lucky.

Turtle, frog, spider

I saved your ass!

My mom said this scenario would make a good children’s story, so here goes:

Once upon a time, there was a baby turtle who lived in a back yard in Virginia. One August day, her dumb ass crawled into a swimming pool. Then some other dumbass animals jumped into the water after her even though it was obviously a swimming pool made for human beings and not a pond or lake or whatever made for amphibians.

Eventually all the animals got sucked butt-first into the pool filter.

Crickets and frogs swelled, then drowned, when they grew tired of treading water in this fatal lagoon. But not the turtle. The turtle didn’t know that her cause was hopeless – that she might as well be trying to swim across the Pacific Ocean – so she kept paddling in the inescapable filter. An exhausted baby toad swam up to the turtle’s buoyed shell.

“Please, turtle,” said the toad, “may I climb on your back and rest my poopy legs?”

“Do I have a choice?” said the turtle.

“No, you definitely do not,” said the toad.

“Whatever,” sighed the turtle, and the toad hopped on her back. But the toad’s weight was not much of a burden, and eventually the two of them got to talking in a friendly way about gas prices and Obama and the lawn mower that routinely tried to decapitate them.

Then a little spider swam up to the turtle. “Do you mind administering my Last Rites and then killing me in a way so that I won’t suffer?”

“I have a better idea,” said the turtle. “Climb on my back.” The spider crawled up the turtle’s shell. She was high and dry. It was a miracle. With her hairy arms she made the sign of the cross on her cephalothorax.

The toad also wanted to be heroic. “Climb on my back,” she said to the spider. “I’ll save you.” Even though the spider had already been saved, she climbed on the toad’s back so the toad would feel useful. Then they bobbed up and down in the filter for several days chatting about the DNC and cannibalism.

Finally, a beautiful princess wearing a bikini opened the pool filter to check for cool dead stuff that she could ask her dad to dispose of later. “You guys, c’mere,” she said in her mellifluous voice. “You’ve got to see this shit.” Then a crowd of human faces was peering down at the miserable, bloated totem pole of turtle, toad, and spider.

“She must be an angel,” said the spider.

“Hold on – don’t take them out of the water yet,” said the angel. “Let me get my camera first.”

After a round of digital pictures, the creatures were released into the wilds of the back yard. Like three scoops of disgusting ice cream, they held formation as they rode. And they all lived happily ever after.

The turtle is currently writing a memoir that she hopes will be optioned by Pixar.

A tent cathedral of surf babies

Yesterday we attended the “Billabong Girls Cascais Festival” – what the widespread local signage seemed to indicate would be a female pro surfing extravaganza. As I mentioned before, we were psyched to see some extreme competition in the rough and tumble waves of Portugal. Guincho Beach is known for its steep cliffs, its harsh winds, its endless and ever-changing sand dunes, and its fearless surfers. So we packed our backpacks with SPF 30 sunblock and cameras and prepared ourselves for an athletic spectacle.

When we arrived at the beach, the only people we saw in the choppy waves were wind surfers. But a tent city had been erected in the middle of the beach so I assumed that was the locus of both the Billabong tournament and the hot after-hours action (we’d heard that rock bands played nightly for the duration of the festival). We walked into the wind toward the back of the biggest tent where I was encouraged by the sound of loud music.

When we stepped inside the tent, I thought immediately that we had stumbled upon some secret adolescent rite of passage. Dozens of pre-teen girls held hands in a circle, singing together and performing what looked like belly dancing moves. No one under the tent was older than fourteen or had fewer than two X chromosomes. Pink backpacks and Billabong towels were piled in the sand under the tarp. The girls who weren’t dancing giggled, flung cups of water at each other, or practiced their moves in bathing suits on a stationary surfboard. I felt like we were intruding on some ancient menstruation ritual. “The red tent,” whispered the bbf. Then he dug out his camera.

A Portuguese beach bum wearing a VIP pass quickly hustled us out. “No,” he said. “Just the young ladies.” The event organizers in the merch tents glared at us as we trudged sheepishly away.

Apparently this Billabong event was less of a hardcore surf competition and more of a summer camp meant to instill confidence in pre-teen girls and to make adult American tourists feel like pervs.*

*In fairness to the festival, I think an actual surf tournament took place on the first day, but we had assumed that the major action would occur on the weekend, like church.

Local death by T-Rex

This morning the bbf’s mom sent a mass email saying that BABY RACCOONS were camping out in a TREE in her BACKYARD. Best of all, she included VIDEO DOCUMENTATION.

I immediately wrote back: “Mary, get your raccoon-catching net and bag those things. I want them in a UPS box on my doorstep first thing Monday morning.”

I asked the three-year-old grandchild if she had watched the raccoon video. “Yeah,” she said.

“I told Meemo to mail me the babies,” I said.

“Are you going to kill them?”

I assured her that no, I was not going to kill them. I am not a monster. Then I put on a little snuff film called The Land Before Time.

Day 5 without a hairbrush

On Saturday I misplaced my only hairbrush, but I didn’t notice until Tuesday. Now the squirrels have moved in to build their nests. My hairbrush should arrive in the mail tomorrow, but meanwhile I have become used to squirrel babies pooping down the back of my neck. And the literary advice they whisper in my ear has really improved the direction of my novel.