Tuesday, October 21, 2014


I've read a baby sleep book that advocates as many sleep aids as possible (Happiest Baby on the Block) and a baby sleep book that advocates zero sleep aids (Babywise). Once again, the ideologies of babies...


I am finally called to be on a jury, and I can't do it because of breastfeeding. (The courthouse even offers free childcare!)

Monday, October 20, 2014


"You're a good cow."

--My grandmother, affectionately, when I told her how much Baby Leopard was growing


His skin is so so soft. He curls his toes around my finger when I stroke his foot. His pointy little ears. His uneven breaths. His luscious pouty little lips. The way he sleeps right next to me, face pushed up against my breast, body curled up against my stomach. The way he reaches out in his sleep to make sure I'm still there. The way he curls up in a ball, with his knees against my chest, when he's tired. His expressions, especially when he's filling his diaper, ranging from smiling to frowning to a furrowed brow to sticking out his tongue to making his lips into a circle to raising his eyebrow and crossing his eyes--all in 30 seconds. His varied lengths of hair: from three-quarters of an inch of dark hair in the back to a fine blond fuzz on top. 

My heart is full--I don't want anything to be different than it is. (Okay, okay--I'd take a live-in nanny.)

Another delight: We occasionally try something called Elimination Communication (EC), where you hold a young child over the toilet and make noises and let them go to the bathroom, to move toward early potty training. It makes me laugh so hard when I hear Francisco in the bathroom grunting and Baby Leopard grunting in response. 

He really smiles now (see above). Also, spending the weekend with my family made me realize that he really does like me more than anyone else. I know that this is solely due to the fact that I feed him every couple of hours, but still, it's sweet. Below: wearing daddy's glasses.

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Random Assortment

~ On egg freezing as a job benefit:

Some doctors say egg freezing could be as influential as the birth control pill in freeing women from the confines of biology. Childbirth coincides with prime career-building years, and balancing both is a perpetual challenge.The cover of Bloomberg Businessweek in April blared, “Freeze Your Eggs, Free Your Career.”
Yet by paying for women to delay pregnancy, are employers helping them achieve that balance — or avoiding policies that experts agree would greatly help solve the problem, like paid family leave, child care and flexible work arrangements?
~ And the excellent Onion response: "Facebook Offers To Freeze Female Employees’ Newborn Children."

~ I think I've linked to this before, but another reminder: 700 Free Movies Online. (Especially for Milne and the Beet-roaster, who have no Netflix!)

~ I learned this weekend from Ilana and Stearns that some time ago Williamsport's mayor removed the basketball hoops from a city park (one that all of us have frequented) under questionable circumstances, to say the least (he blamed the removal on drug activity, but there had been no police reports or arrests). Ilana writes, 
"My favorite line: Campana said, “We are looking at a new sport called pickleball. It is the fastest growing sport among senior citizens, and we are looking at putting some courts in there.”"
It seems that racial issues played into the mayor's decision. And it seems that Williamsport is a small town with the all-powerful mayor model. I wish I knew a journalist so I could push him to write about this injustice. 

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


Baby Leopard's forehead is glistening in this picture from the oils. His gown is very old; his pacifier, very new. (Thanks for the pacifier, Sr. Margarita: when you gave it to us, I thought I'd never need it, but it turns out we use it every day--there's nothing like a baby for getting rid of all my ideologies.) (Thanks for the picture, Ilana, and for all the baptism pictures!)

Preparing for Baby Leopard's baptism brought me unmoderated joy: his birth was mostly traumatic; his birth into Christianity, on the other hand, is one with no downside; in fact, his birth into Christianity is what makes his physical birth worthwhile. I love him in the knowledge that he'll probably reject a lot of what I teach him and how I raise him; I look forward, though, to raising him in the faith, and baptism is about commending him to God, and about God holding onto him. (Now it makes sense to me why a baptismal gown was the first baby item that I bought.)

I'm really grateful for Baby Leopard's Christian family, so many of whom came into town for his baptism, who will support him in his faith (and who will support us, as we raise him).

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Boardwalk

Two of these are cranes; one is a ride.

There was a Columbus Day Italian festival going on next to the boardwalk. After my recent re-watching of The Sopranos, I'm more aware of Italian pride.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Random Assortment

~ Above: more of the Barnes lobby ceiling.

~ Oh my goodness!! I just learned (late!) from twitter that Iris DeMent's next album is Anna Akhmatova set to music. I'm thrilled.

~ On the music theme: I love that these scientists have a competition involving slipping references to Bob Dylan into their academic writings.

~ Simcha Fisher, hilarious, as always:

Baby #1: A one-hour glucola test? Let me talk to my peers, doctor, and see if they think this is medically necessary.
Baby #10: I get to drink an orange soda all by myself without sharing it? And then I have to wait an hour? In the waiting room? By myself, without doing any errands or playing Legos with anyone or scrambling any eggs? Is there any way it would be more effective if I had to wait two hours, and maybe eat some Snickers bars, too? 

Monday, October 6, 2014

One Month Old

It occurs to me that I've fed Baby Leopard about 300 times by now, and Francisco and I have changed about that many diapers. That means I've also had 30 nights of punctuated sleep.

Other stats:

--Number of pre-baby days I didn't make my bed: 0
--Number of post-baby days I made my bed: 0 (Francisco made it a couple of times)
--Number of strangers Francisco has threatened to chase away (from being in the same public space as we were), since they looked potentially sick: 2
--Number of baby farts: approximately 1000

It's funny that it's been a month since the birth: I've never been focused on this moment in my whole life so much as I have been since the baby was born; the passing of time on a grand scale is surprising.

Saturday, October 4, 2014


Well, first of all: birthday flowers.

Second, at Hopkins' recommendation, we finally took a walk around Swarthmore's arboretum, which basically is the campus.

It's a beautiful place to take a walk on a fall day.

(Although I have to admit, when I go to places like the art museum or gardens, it's a bit hard for me to stop looking at Baby Leopard for long enough to enjoy them. I just want to stare at my baby.)

It's lovely; I can't wait to go back in the spring.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Monday, September 29, 2014


People have transitioned from (when I was pregnant) warning us thoroughly that our lives are about to change, forever, for the worse (at least, all the things they warned us about seemed like bad things--lack of sleep, a screaming child, never being able to do the things we used to do) to oohing and aahing over our newborn and telling us that these are the best days of our lives and we should suck the marrow from every moment. Frankly, I'm a little confused, especially because I am just now, three weeks into this adventure, beginning to be able to enjoy it.

It's hard to enjoy having a newborn when there's so much anxiety associated with him: What if we choose the wrong sleeping situation and he gets SIDS? What if he stays awake all night screaming? What if breastfeeding continues to hurt as much as it does right at this moment? (Which is a lot, and I'll tell you what, I feel like I don't deserve any more pain.) What if I leak when I'm in public? What if I can't ever do my work again? What if we can't find/afford childcare? What if he is staying awake too much? What if my body doesn't heal? What if I have diastasis recti? What if we have 8 children? What if he forever refuses to nap unless he's in my arms? (As you can see, these worries range from big things to little things, from very real possibilities to things that are very unlikely. All the worries get jumbled up together.)

It helps me to get out of the house and be among people and enjoy them oohing and aahing over my son, reminding me that he is, indeed, adorable, and worth enjoying. (Of course, they also imply that later things become even more difficult as he grows up. Goodness, advice is exhausting.) But I also feel an expectation from most people to be unabashedly positive about my baby, which is hard when I bear the responsibility for keeping him alive and happy. It's much easier to be unabashedly positive about someone else's baby.