Tag Archives: babies

a new normal, part 1

1 Mar

When Baby McSwedolish was first born, people would often comment on how much our lives must have changed now that there was a baby. A baby! So many new and different things with a baby!

And it’s true! SO many new and different things with a baby!

And surprisingly, or maybe not, so many things have stayed the same.

Change, big change, like having a baby, or adopting a dog, or buying a new couch, can be hard. Getting used to new routines is difficult for people (me) sometimes. But I’ve found that when I step out of my own way for a moment and really look at my new normal, the comfort of my old ways is still there, mingling with the new ways, all of it mixing together to create a hodgepodge of life.

Because that’s what life is, a hodgepodge.

Here, a few examples:

Things That Have Stayed the Same

One: I still hate getting out of bed in the morning. Yes, it is absolutely brilliant to wake up to the sound of sweet baby coos and goos. And I never really understood the feeling of wanting to burst and cry with happiness at the same time until the first time I peeked my head over the bassinet and Baby McSwedolish locked eyes with me and then smiled and laughed as if to say, “Oh it’s YOU! I KNOW you! I’m so glad to see YOU again!” It is a daily shot through the heart and gut of pure, unadulterated bliss.

But in the five minutes before I peek my head over the bassinet, when I have poked at the off button on my alarm, and I have stumbled out of bed, go to the bathroom, brush my teeth, I still resent the ever living fuck out of every single person on the planet. I resent Swede for still being in bed, I resent Juniper for still being in bed, the cats are awake with me but I always resent them, just even more. The bus driver cruising the bus down Michigan Avenue? He’s a jerk as well. At that point in the day, I resent Bob Mariano, the CEO of Mariano’s grocery store, which is not only my happy place, but sells some of the best bacon I’ve ever had. I’ve never met him, but he still is a target of my ire. Because that’s how it is those first five minutes. That has not changed.

By the time I put my contacts in I’ve forgiven each and every one of you (you’re welcome). And by the time I poke my head over the bassinet and Baby McSwedolish bestows upon me his gummy smile, my ire is long gone, and the world begins to make sense(ish) again.

Two: I am still inordinately fixated on poop. I thought Swede and I talked about poop a lot when we got the dog. Now? Now sometimes it feels like the only thing we ever talk about. Because now there are two beings—the dog and Baby McSwedolish—whose poop we have to be conscious of. Are each of them pooping daily? Is it normal poop? What color was it? Was it a lot or a little? Did it explode in an inappropriate location?

Since we were so fixated on the bowel movements of our dog, it wasn’t a terribly big change to incorporate a fixation on the baby’s bowel movements as well. And you know, just like at the vet, when we take Baby McSwedolish to the doctor, they ask a lot of questions about his pooping regularity and consistency as well. So the poop aspect of our lives, while it has increased, has also remained relatively unchanged.

Three: I still think about time management way more often than I’d like, and I still utterly fail at it on the regular because I want to Do! And See! And Be! Everything. Before Baby McSwedolish graced us with his presence, I like to think that I’d gotten pretty good at managing my time, and making room for all the things I needed and/or wanted to do: work, freelance work, badly frosting cakes, hanging out with Swede & Friends, writing this blog, writing a book, cooking amazing three course meals, showering. Some days I worked my time management skillz better than others (some days: See: utter failure, as mentioned above), but every day required a thorough briefing in my mind about what needed to happen that day, and how I could make it all happen, even if, when looking at the To Do list, there was no way Jesus Christ Himself, who can literally perform miracles, could ever accomplish everything that was on the list.

And I still do it. I still make preposterous lists of things to accomplish in one day. I’m not entirely sure why, but I do, and it feels good, and just like before Baby McSwedolish came along, some days I’m better at saying to myself, “Well, you got one thing crossed off your list of 50: YOU PUT ON PANTS!! Congratulations! You are AMAZING!,” than others.

I’m not saying that this is the best way to handle time, I’m saying it’s how I handle it. And I’m not saying I handle it very well, or even very badly, I’m saying that my high expectations of myself are still there, post-baby, though perhaps a little mellowed.



Despite being someone who does not always embrace change easily, I’ve found lately that I like the new, and I like the old, and I like it all mixed together. I quite enjoy my little hodgepodge and it regular irregularities. I like these things that have stayed the same yet are tinged with a new hue because there’s another person in our household. I didn’t know these new colors could exist, and yet, here they are.


photo friday: melting

3 Feb

Was keeping watch. Got tired. 

I was worried that when we brought Baby McSwedolish home the dog wouldn’t like him.

I needn’t have worried.

She loves him very much, and shows said love by thoroughly cleaning his face and hands and nose holes, and, when he’s kicked off his socks, his toes, though there is no denying that she also is terribly sad that she is no longer the baby.

But still.

She knows that she must protect Baby McSwedolish no matter what.

Or at least for as long as she can keep her eyes open.


did you know judy blume has a new book out?, and other things i learned on new year’s day, or: things i’ve been meaning to tell you: january 2017

11 Jan

One: Judy Blume has a new book out. Did you know this? It’s called In the Unlikely Event. Well, it’s not super new, as the copyright says 2015, but it’s new and news to me. I found it while on our annual New Year’s Day trip to Powells, and Interwebers, there is a solid chance I may actually read this book. Which would mean a two-year streak of actually reading one of the books I bought as part of our NYD tradition, instead of just smiling at them a whole lot when I walk by our bookcase. Also, Judy Blume is 78 years old, and I’m just not sure what to do with that information because for the life of me I thought she was ageless.

Two: While on maternity leave I did an enormous amount of binge watching, because what else are you supposed to do when you are essentially stapled to the couch nursing a child? I really think Netflix needs to invest in technology that will let you skip the opening credits of certain shows, because they just are so goddamn annoying. Like the opening theme and credits to Friends, for example. But it shouldn’t be a blanket skipping, mind you, you should be able to pick and choose the theme songs you want to eliminate. While I don’t ever need to hear “I’ll be there for yooooouuuu!” ever again in my entire ding-dong life, I do not mind hearing the swelling of the West Wing opener, nor the ominous joviality of The Americans theme music, or the diabolical sexiness of the theme from House of Cards. Yes, I realize this is why a fast forward button was created, but sometimes you can’t get the timing right, and you end up fast forwarding too much, and then you miss a scene, and then you have to rewind and you end up hearing part of the annoying theme song anyway, and my life is hard and woe to me and my streaming device.

Three: Why do I not have a cheese emoji on my phone? There is one for crème brulee, but not one for cheese. And I text about cheese way more than I do crème brulee. Someone please explain this oversight to me.

Four: Despite his young age, Swede and I like to read to the newest member of our household (also known as Baby McSwedolish), because really, it’s never too early to instill a love of reading, and plus I made one of my New Year’s Goals is to read the paper more, which is much more entertaining when you can read the articles aloud and use funny voices when quoting police chiefs and aldermen. Sometimes we actually read him children’s books, which is nice too, though I’m pretty sure some of these children’s book authors were motherf-ing hiiiigh when they wrote these books. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, I’m just surprised, I guess. If you don’t believe me, pick up a copy of the board book Jamberry. You’ll understand completely.


Sometimes I revise the story as I’m reading, because my version is better. What does Baby McSwedolish know? He doesn’t even have teeth yet.

playing to your strengths

25 Apr

The past couple of weeks my sister and brother-in-law have been kind enough to let me stay with them during this, ahem, transitional time in my life.* In return, I have provided them with minutes of entertainment, several bottles of wine, and hours of free babysitting. One week I even babysat two evenings in a row, which prompted the following discussion between my sister and me:

Sister #1: “So, do you think you could watch That Baby on Thursday night?”

Me: “Sure, I’ll hang out with the Chicken Nugget.”

Sister #1: “Okay, but…I feel kind of bad, I mean, that’s two nights in a row.

Me: “Yeah, but in case you haven’t noticed, I don’t really have a life right now. I hope to get one soon, but for the moment, I don’t, and I’m fine to babysit two nights in a row.

Sister #1: “Okay, well, if you get a life between now and next week, let me know and I can get another sitter.”

Me: “Sure thing, I’ll keep you posted.”

And let’s be honest, Interwebers, babysitting the Chicken Nugget isn’t all that hard, considering I don’t get home until 6:30, and he goes to bed at 7 pm.

Note: I said goes to bed at 7 pm. One night after reading 16 books and singing half of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star (he gave my singing a dirty look so I stopped), I put him in his crib just after 7 pm, and 45 minutes later heard him still conversing with his duck blanket and pillow pet. I can’t imagine what topics the three of them were discussing so intently—the war in Afghanistan? Obamacare? Cheerios? Whether or not the American people should be asking Donald Trump’s hair to authenticate its birth certificate? Discerning, what, exactly, the point of using a spoon was when your hands work just as well?—but I wasn’t about to interrupt, and the conversation must have petered out because eventually there was nothing but silence.

Because I’m a good aunt. And a good aunt knows that as long as he’s not screaming bloody murder, there is nothing wrong with leaving a baby to chatter away in his crib so you can watch HGTV and drink a glass of cabernet in peace.

But I’d better be careful, lest my sister and brother-in-law throw their cares to the wind and try to exploit me for my lack of life and mad babysitting skillz, and beg and plead for me to babysit for the Chicken Nugget twice or thrice a week.

I’m not all that worried though, as that life I plan on getting should be here any minute now. Annny minute.

I hope.

*Transitional sounds a lot better than “this new job is freelance and until it goes FTE I am too chicken shit to sign a lease lest I jinx myself, get canned, and wind up clinging to too-expensive rent in an empty apartment because I never even got the chance to move my shit out of The Swede’s basement before my income went up shit’s creek.”**

**What? No, I don’t have unrealistic delusions Bag Lady Syndrome, WHY DO YOU ASK?

photo friday*: early/late

8 Oct

I’m in Chicago for the weekend, partially because the little Pot Pie is turning one year old.

It’s fun to be one!

You’ve seen a couple pictures of what he looks like most recently (here and here), being a crawler and a noise-maker and the like. But this is what he looked like a year ago, when I had driven in from Michigan, hung over as shit after my friend’s wedding, to meet my new little munchkin.

Has a year gone by already?

*No, not an official Calliope Photo Friday, but I’m trying to keep the dream alive.

all growns up

4 Aug

Cute, isn’t he? The little munchkin who keeps getting bigger and bigger every time I see him. In May, at Mother’s Day, he had less hair and no teeth.  Now there are two teeth on the bottom and swirly curls of blonde hair all around his head.

He recently managed to put all the pieces of movement together, and crawls around with ease, oftentimes closer and closer to the dog who doesn’t seem to believe that this thing can finally move. Now it does more than just cry and whine and make noise, the dog thinks, but it moves. The dog is secretly hoping that this is just a phase, so he won’t have to get up and move out of fear for his tail every time the little punk comes a-callin’.

He can feed himself now. Kind of. He hasn’t mastered utensils, but then, neither have I sometimes. But he can grab blueberries or bits of bagel and miniscule cheese cubes and shove them all in his mouth at once. He can sit nicely in a high chair while you and your sister are out to lunch, occasionally reaching for the turkey on ciabatta on your plate (thankfully you’re still faster on the draw than he is), munching on fancy baby food from a Food Network star and more pieces of bagel, his hands grubby from shoving the pureed turkey and…whatever else was in that packet….into his mouth in happiness.

And he can, when his mom gently moves his hand away from her white pants, turn sweetly to Aunt Molly and wipe those lovely grubby hands all over her navy blue pants, the food remnants of which will later crust over and look oh-so-attractive to passersby.

He’s really growing up.

Thanks to Sister #1 for snapping this photo of me and the little pot-pie.

this does not bode well for his college years

15 Jul

Sister #1 texted the other day that she got a new iPhone.

Me: You should send me a picture of my nephew

Sister #1: Okay, but it a picture to show how tired he is b/c someone doesn’t like naps

Me: Sounds like someone’s being an asshole

Sister #1: Totally. I think he’s getting more toofis

So she sent me a picture of him pre-nap, looking dazed, barefoot, and confused, like a mini-frat boy after one too many jaegerbombs, right before he passes out. Later, I got a text that he was awake again,  and a new picture was on its way.

Hey ladies....

“Dude, Ma, seriously? What are you doing here? You’re totally harshing the mellow of my pool party. The chicks are going to be here any minute.”

I see the future, and there is double secret probation by the time he turns 20.

Just like his momma.

insert chanting intro here

24 May

From the day we arrive on the planet…and blinking, step into the sun….

(Or, you know, seven months after you arrive on the planet, and you’re not so much stepping anywhere, seeing as how you’ve only just kind of gotten the hang of rolling over. And you don’t have any teeth.)

And the sun rolling high…in the sapphire sky…

(Actually, it was more like late afternoon.)


(And by circle of life we mean passing our love of Disney musicals on to the next generation.)

(You’re welcome.)

angry old man

10 May

I haven’t seen my nephew in person since Christmas. I’d seen pictures, though, so I knew he’d changed, knew he’d gotten bigger and that infant look he’d once sported had morphed into more of a little man.

I see the future, and I fear for his neighbors.

woe to me

12 Jan

Before Duncan came around, Toby was the baby.

He was good at being the baby.

He liked to stare at you with woeful eyes, pleading with you. “Just one more pet? One more ear scratch? I love you.  Please? I love you very much.”

And then he would lounge contentedly on you for as long as he pleased.
Because he was the baby.

And babies do that.

But now Duncan is the baby.

And Toby?

Not so much the baby anymore.