Sunday, March 14, 2010


This morning our family attended a really interesting ceremony. One of the women in our PEPS group is Indian, and it is an Indian tradition to have a ceremony to celebrate a baby's first solid food. It's akin to christening; family and friends gather, a whole lot of food is involved, and there are certain rituals to be followed: the baby starts with sweet rice pudding, then eats little bits of five other foods made especially for the occasion. Then each of the relatives--grandparents, great-grandparents, uncles--takes turns giving the baby a tiny bit of food.

It was really sweet, and the baby was adorable, dressed in a tiny sari with anklets, a headdress and a little tiny ring on her hand. And boy, was she ready for the food! She lunged for the spoon with great enthusiasm :-).

Years ago, I attended a bris, and at the time I thought that it was a really nice to have a ceremony to celebrate your baby's arrival and welcome him into the community. I've never been to a christening, but I would imagine it expresses a similar joy.

When my sweetie and I got married, I asked our officiant what she believed, since she was creating a nonreligious ceremony for us, and she said, "I believe in ritual." She meant that there is something valuable in marking the important events in our lives, and gathering friends and family to make a public celebration. When we were planning the wedding, more than one person wondered why we were bothering to have a wedding, since we weren't religious. Apparently God wants you to spend lots of money on a big party, but without the need to appease him, sensible people would just go to City Hall. Or maybe if you don't believe in God, than there's nothing to celebrate, not even your love. I don't know; this question baffled me each time I heard it. But ultimately, I agree with our officiant: ritual is important.

Some part of me regrets that our cutie will not have any welcoming ceremonies. But he does have godparents, if you can call them "god"parents: my sweetie's brother and his wife. They will take care of our cutie if anything should happen to us. I suppose if they were godparents in the usual sense, they would also promise to raise him in the appropriate faith. We would all stand up in a church and they would swear this. Instead we just called them on the phone and they agreed that we could put their names in our wills.

But, thinking about it now, I realize that, in a way, they are true godparents, because when we considered which of my sweetie's brothers to ask, we chose the one who, like us, is an atheist, and that fact did play a significant role in our choice. I'm not militant about it; I've never in my life attempted to convince someone that God doesn't exist, even though I can't even count how many times people have tried to do the opposite to me (ranging from the combative to the infuriatingly smug "You'll understand the truth when you're ready." Have I ever, ever, said to anyone that should they come down with cancer or something, they'll realize that life is random and God is a lie? Never). But, it's important to me; having a kid has only reminded me how important.

Even if we don't have the rituals to prove it.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Nerves of steel, heart of stone

The cutie and I are locked in a battle of wills over his naps. He refuses--I mean refuses--to nap longer than 40 minutes. Seriously, I can practically set my clock by him: did he go down at 1:48? He will be up at 2:28. He may be a minute early, but he is rarely a minute late.

I want him to nap longer, not just for my own sanity, but because he needs it. Babies need a lot of sleep in order to learn. Not to mention in order to not be cranky.

He is now five months old; supposedly at four months, babies start figuring out that if they cry, you'll pick them up. Before then, they supposedly do not cry unless there is actually something wrong. How researchers know this, I don't know. But he is certainly crying more determinedly than he used to, and I have noticed that going in briefly to comfort him and then leaving actually now seems to make him cry harder.

So, my effort to make him sleep more and longer, yet not spoil him, calls for nerves of steel and a heart of stone, because that baby will cry for an hour before falling asleep for 40 minutes. This is not a ratio that makes for a happy mommy. Then, after he wakes up, I'll tell him he needs to sleep another 40 minutes at least (his naps should be 1.5 - 2 hours, according to sleep research--and I believe it, because when he gets up after 40 minutes, he's fussy and tired again within an hour), and he will cry for another 30, 40, 50 minutes before I either give up (at this point a solid two+ hours of listening to him cry or waiting for him to wake up and cry, and my nerves are shot) or he finally falls asleep. If he does fall asleep, he'll then sleep for a good hour or more. It's getting past that first 40-minute wake-up that's the trick.

He's still sleeping reasonably well at night, though he's started taking longer to fall asleep after midnight feedings (sometimes he'll lie awake and talk for an hour after feeding, and you can imagine at 2:00 in the morning this does not make me happy. Especially if my sweetie is snoring blissfully beside me), and he's also started trying to wake up for the day at 5:00 am. I feel like pretty much every waking minute of my day is spent trying to get him to sleep a little bit more, and being alternately angry, despairing, frustrated, worried, frantic and just plain exhausted.

I think I'm going to get an ulcer.

On the bright side, I've started reading Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions. What a great book. She expresses so many of the feelings I've had, good and bad, since my cutie was born. Hopefully hers grew up OK, but I don't think I'll research it, just in case.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


Don't ask me why, but I love this picture.

I call it "Baby in the Wild."

Monday, March 01, 2010

The Agony of Defeat

Alas, I have failed to medal in the Knitting Olympics.

As you can see, I am one thumb short of finishing the main knitting. Less obvious is the fact that there is still attached i-cord trim to do, not to mention the weaving in of ends (oh, how I hate weaving in ends!).

I was slowed not merely by having a baby who requires continual attention (though, thank goodness, no longer constant attention), but also by a special kind of Second Glove Syndrome. Similar to Second Sock or Second Sleeve Syndrome, SGS refers to a reluctance to finish the second one because the first one took the edge off the interest. However, in this special version, as I plowed ahead with the second glove, normal SGS was exacerbated by my absolute inability to read the directions. Instead, I'd assume I already knew what was next, would continue without reading, and find I had misremembered and done it incorrectly, thus requiring frequent ripping back and starting over. I guess you could say I DQ'd due the equipment failure of my brain. It had nothing to do with the pattern, which, I must say, was extremely well written, when I bothered to read it.

Still, I am pretty pleased with the project. Assuming I finish the thumb (which is by no means certain, since it's in the 50s today, other projects are clamoring for my time, and as these past two weeks have demonstrated, I do not have a great deal of uninterrupted knitting time to spend and so the urge to move onto something I might use in our current spring weather is strong), these will be the best-fitting pair of gloves I've ever owned. They fit like, well, gloves :-). I have to say that I cannot say that about anything else I have knitted. The sweaters I've done fit me fine, but in general no better or worse than store-bought sweaters. These gloves, though, are tailored perfectly to fit my wide, stubby hands, even down to this:

I knitted in a bulge for my rings :-).