This is a long one, so buckle up.
Jennifer Margulis, who is an editor at Literary Mama, asked me if I'd let my blog be a stop on her virtual tour for her new book, Why Babies Do That. And I said, sure! But only if you let me ask you a bunch of smartass questions about babies! And she was all, "Uh, how about you see if your questions are answered in the book first? You can read, right?" And I said, No! I can't! I have a trained alpaca who does all my reading for me! And she was all, "Damn it, I knew I should have gone to Parent Hacks first."
Well, it turned out that Ms. Margulis, Ph.D., wrote a very nice and serious and interesting book. And she did answer the one normal question I thought to ask her. Because a non-parent might think a lot of the questions she tackles in this book are pretty obvious. The answer to "Why do some babies shriek in terror when a stranger tries to pick them up?" probably boils down to something like "Because grandma smells funny," nine times out of ten. But when you're a new, freaked-out parent nothing's obvious, there are 8,000 ways to change a diaper and 200 books and/or relatives to tell you about it. So I asked her if she wrote Why Babies Do That as a way of reassuring new mothers and fathers that there are actually sensible explanations for infant behavior they may, in their sleep-deprived brains, find baffling? And she patted me on the back (virtually) and said (typed)
"Exactly! Unlike many Americans, I spent a lot of time around babies before my first child was born."
No kidding! I yelled at her e-mail. Being an American, I was terrified of children, even when I was one.
"I worked on a child survival campaign in West Africa, I babysat an infant while I was pregnant, and I had a sister 23 years younger than me (long story). But I still found my daughter's behavior totally baffling at times. And I found motherhood completely overwhelming. I loved it but I was totally overwhelmed by this tiny creature who needed so much care (to say nothing of being overwhelmed by the huge blood clots coming out from between my legs and the fact that it felt like it was raining in my bed at night from night sweats)".
Dude! The blood clots! I had one the size of a tennis ball! I thought my uterus was falling out of my body. Which is one of my all-time favorite conversation stoppers. Fortunately, it usually only works on men, and Jennifer didn't hear me say it because, again, I said it to my computer. But she did go on to say (type),
"This is a book that helps a little with the transition to motherhood. It isn't a how-to book. . .
. . . but a book that aims to translate infantese into some semblance of English. Babies talk to us through their actions (some people would say husbands do that as well) but when you're a new parent it's really hard to decipher all of it. So "Why Babies Do That" tries to help inspire and inform new parents.
So there you go, a new book that you could totally put into one of those gift baskets you're always making for your friends' first baby showers. And don't even try to deny that you're really into glue-gunning stuff all over the handle.
Item number two!
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I had some freelance projects going? One of them was that AmericanBaby.com decided it was a good idea to give me $200 to rewrite my birth story for them. So you can either read the original blog version here or read the somewhat rewritten, interestingly edited, and scandalously titled version here and be as surprised as I was to find that I "hissed" at my midwife during transition. I recall being uncannily dry and to the point at that moment, but AmericanBaby.com would have it otherwise. They also changed "coochie" to "vagina" when I think they actually meant "vulva," but no matter. I've already cashed the check.
The other thing I did was a little book review for Alpha Mom Hot Spot.
And then, joy of joys! I got some free K-Y in the mail! From a fancy marketing company in Washington D.C. But it's not regular K-Y, it's K-Y "Sensual Mist," which is another way of saying "spray-on lube." It works pretty well, though I think there's some waste as it tends to scatter unevenly around the affected area and I hate the way dried lube makes my skin feel cold and tacky. But lo! They also included a bottle of K-Y Sensual Mist Warming Mistable Personal Lubricant. I took one look at that and said, Uh-oh, and Jack said, "Did I ever tell you about the time I jerked off with Vick's Vap-O-Rub?" And I was all, "Did I ever tell you about the time I let someone spray Binaca on my lady parts?" Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to put anything mentholated on their sexual organs, please, just tell them right now, I don't care if they're only three years old, do them a favor.
End promotional content, possibly forever. We will return to regular old blogging in this space tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest. Thank you for your forbearance.