September 21, 2011

A weekend without Daddy

So J.D. went out of town this weekend. Note to friends and family: please stop getting married in cool faraway places. We are poor, and we have a baby that we can't take on a plane and who views the car as a torturemobile spiriting her toward her doom. Also, I do not like having the full yoke of parenting squarely on my shoulders. If J.D. ever leaves me with primary custody of the kid, I am going to have to join a cult just so that I have someone around to tell me when I am doing something stupid, like letting the baby have a taste of the fake butter goo in my bag of microwave popcorn.

So I went home to spend the weekend with my family. They are v. v. good at telling me when I'm doing something stupid, so I feel safe with them.

We had a busy weekend. We gave Lulu her first taste of solid food (not counting the popcorn goo).

It was funny. While she happily nommed the fake chemical butter sludge, she kind of acted like the organic bananas and carefully expressed breastmilk I fed to her, one fingerfull at a time, were poison of the rankest degree.

Those are tears in her eyes. TEARS for the saddest banana in the world.

After the first rush of crying, she seemed to start to warm up to the whole eating thing. But she didn't seem to enjoy it as much as you would think a baby who rocketed from the first percentile to the 85th percentile in weight in a mere four months would enjoy real, honest-to-goodness food.

My child: defying expectations since March 2011.


We went to the beach! Because we are contrarians, my family, all of us, we saved our first beach visit of the year and the first of Lulu's entire life for a 60-degree day at the tail end of a rainy weekend in SEPTEMBER. The surf was rough and the beach was deserted, except for some people playing with their dog and a couple posing for engagement pictures.

My dad did his best Richard Nixon impression in his work clothes, walking on the sand in his suit and dress shoes:

I dabbled Lulu's feet in the waves, and watched her brow screw up in confusion as she touched sand for the first time.

I love the beach. I especially love Ocean View. It's a humble bay beach, kind of scrubby, ringed with twisted live oaks, dive bars, and wind-stunted pine trees. Real houses border right onto the sand, where real people live year round. One of those houses, a modest brick rancher, belonged to my great-grandparents, and was the hangout for everybody in the family for forty years. It's long since been sold, but it feels like our house, still, and so the beach still feels like our beach.

I know that in a couple of years, a trip to the beach with Lulu will involve a long hot walk over burning sand with bags and bags of sunscreen and umbrellas and toys and shovels and snacks and water and OH MY GOD IS THAT A SHARK? and WHY CAN'T I SEE YOU ARE YOU DROWNED? and NO, I SAID WE ARE LEAVING AND I MEANT IT GET BACK HERE. Long gone will be the days of baking thoughtlessly in the sun with a stack of magazines and a pack of cigarettes. I know that having kids is going to ruin the beach for me.

So I am glad we got to enjoy it together at least once.


The weather continued to be beautiful through Monday, and Monday night, I decided that I wanted to get some fresh air as I slept. My mom and aunt came in as I was getting ready for bed and saw the bedroom window wide open, Lulu's portacrib perched right under it.

And this was apparently one of the stupid things that my family is not afraid to tell me I am doing. Because. The crib. Under the window. I was just asking for my child to be stolen away from me in the night. A terrible burglar was going to creep in and take her. They were sure of it. They saw it on America's Most Wanted. There was that woman who killed herself after Nancy Grace accused her of murdering her kid even though she wasn't a suspect? Her baby was stolen out of his crib in front of an open window on a night JUST LIKE TONIGHT.

It really isn't worth arguing statistics with them. Especially not my mom. She lectured me for weeks about taking down a huge heavy mirror over Lulu's crib in our room at home and I sighed and didn't want to, but then I finally did and the next day THERE WAS AN EARTHQUAKE. It was like God reached down his mighty hand and said in my mother's voice, "I TOLD YOU SO." My mother's nagging has now been sanctified by God, and she knows (KNOWS) that she is the only thing standing between my child and certain death.

So I closed the window. And then when she left, I opened it again.

And then I had the kind of really delicious night you have when you sleep in the fresh air and it's all cool and then I woke up at 6 AM and I looked over and there was one perfect beam from the rising sun falling on the crib, illuminating it, and IT WAS EMPTY. Lulu was NOT THERE.

And I freaked out. And I am ashamed to say that most of the freaking was not, oh my GOD, my baby has been kidnapped, so much as it was oh my GOD, my baby has been kidnapped and my mom is going to be so mad at me.

I sat there, doing what I usually do in situations like this. I tried to figure out a way I could blame this on J.D.

But he was in Maine! This was all me. I'd lost my child and now I would have to go on Nancy Grace and kill myself.

I had just taken the first ragged breath of hyperventilation when my aunt came in holding the baby who had apparently been crying in her crib all morning while I slept on, unawares (more evidence that I am a BAD MOTHER). Lulu had a poopy diaper, and my aunt doesn't do poopy diapers, and I was so relieved, and nobody mentioned the WIDE OPEN WINDOW RIGHT THERE and all was well.

All the same, I was glad when J.D. got back yesterday, because now if this happens again, I can blame it on him. And also because I missed him. But mostly because he brought me pretty earrings. From Maine.


  1. OK, I think I laughed so hard I almost pee'd a little. That isn't hard to do these days, but still....

    Is it just that one picture by the bananas, or does Lulu seem to be getting red hair?

  2. I think it's mostly the chair in that picture, but it's definitely got red glints in the sunlight. J.D.'s beard is reddish (not his hair, bizarrely) so I think she might get it from him. Or else it's just her namesake coming through in her. :)

  3. When we moved to this place, my mother insisted nothing be close to a window that the girls could climb on, in case they leaned against the screens and fell out. I decided not to mention the fact that the radiators were directly underneath the bedroom windows in the old place, and I regularly used to walk in to see Joy sitting on the radiator cover, pushing against the window screen to try to see out. Bad mother, Louise!

  4. ACK! Our radiators are under windows, too! And we are on the third floor!

    Luckily, they get so boiling hot that before she could sit on them, Lulu would have to don a flame-retardant sleepsuit.