Saturday, February 27, 2010

Base Pairs

I touch babies. I know I'm not supposed to, and for heaven's sake it even bothered me when strangers did it to Ben, but I swear I have no control. Before I'm even aware of it, there's a baby hand in my fingers, and I whip my hand away and apologize, but of course it's too late. I'm not even that much of a baby person! I just literally can't help myself.

I say this to illustrate that I understand the unshakable impulse where babies are concerned. But here's one I don't have, don't understand, and am perpetually perplexed and kind of grossed-out by: the match-making. Sometimes it's someone you know, and sometimes it's some total stranger in the grocery line, but if you have a baby or small child, you will hear, more frequently than you might think, this person's opinion about a sexual partner for your little one.

I find the career assignments weird and off-putting, too. I heard a lot about how Ben was going to be a linebacker. "That's fine," I'd say, "so long as he takes calculus." People who actually know him tend to observe his interest in cars and things mechanical and dub him Engineer (big stretch, given that's what his father is). I'm not sure why it bugs me. There's something inanely reductive about it, I guess, even though clearly it's meant kindly. But why the urge in the first place? Why narrow the field based on pretty much nothing at all? Isn't it more wonderful, isn't it part of what's so marvelous about tiny people to begin with, the opportunity to embrace the nearly limitless possibilities of their future selves?

But the sexual partner thing is just flat-out creepy. We fret over how early our kids become sexualized, but we're already pairing them off before they can walk, let alone before they have secondary sex characteristics. Of all the random small talk to make, why this? Wouldn't it be inappropriate and kind of bizarre if you said the same stuff about actual adults who are sexually active? Hey, your daughter's 25 and my son's 26 -- they'd be perfect for each other!

I don't know, maybe it's just me.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Quotidian Again

I did this last spring, and I thought I'd do it again.

A Typical Day

6:00 Andy wakes up, goes downstairs, starts coffee. Sometimes Ben is up already and yelling about a car that's slipped through the crib bars.

6:30 It's unusual for Ben not to be up by now.

7:00 Andy wakes me up by yelling up the stairs. I come down, and Andy goes to work. I give Ben his breakfast of a sliced banana and dreary-ohs.

7:15 I read email and check in with the Interwebs. Ben does baby work.

The rest of the morning will include some or all of the following: reading to Ben, looking at photos or videos online with Ben on my lap, watching TV (me, not him -- he generally pays attention for five minutes and then goes back to baby-work), taking a shower, doing laundry, tidying, vacuuming, other assorted domestic chores. If we have errands to run, this is usually when they happen, so that we can be home with plenty of margin before naptime because if the kid so much as closes his eyes in the car, he will fight a nap like a mean cat.

10:30-ish Ben and I eat second breakfast, which is usually my first breakfast, and consists of half a PB&J for him and a whole one for me.

11:45 Ben picks a Nap-Time Car, and we go upstairs. He usually gets a diaper change and potty time and then a book on my lap, then goes down for his nap. I generally watch toddler-inappropriate TV and knit while he's napping. I also eat lunch.

1:30-ish Ben wakes up. He usually sleeps about an hour and a half, but it can be as little as an hour and as much as three hours. He gets a snack of some kind. Often I accede to his demands for a cracker (he points to the cabinet where the crackers are and yells).

Rest of the afternoon: We resume our work and play.

4:00 I go into the kitchen and empty and load the dishwasher and tidy and wipe down the kitchen. I start dinner. Depending on the timing required, I either start the whole deal or just do whatever prep can be done ahead of time. The aim is to eat soon after Andy arrives. I expect him between 5:15 and 5:30. On burger night and occasionally otherwise, I feed Ben, and then Andy and I eat after he's in bed. (Burger night usually happens when I've been out and busy in the afternoon, and we do it once a week. One of us does Ben's night-time ritual while the other goes to Five Guys for take-out, which we eat in front of the TV.)

5:15-ish Andy comes home, changes clothes, feeds Hugo.

5:30-ish We sit down to dinner.

After dinner Andy sits on the sofa and reads politcal blogs on his toy phone or plays the banjo while Ben runs around or rides his wheelie-bee or does puzzles or bashes cars around. I clean up dinner. Sometimes I join them and read or knit. Sometimes I play on the computer. This isn't a big block of time, as Ben's bedtime ritual begins at

6:45 Ben picks a Bedtime Car, and Andy takes him upstairs, brushes his teeth, puts him in jammies, and reads the first book. I come up after five or 10 minutes and read the second book. Then Ben turns off the light and gives us each a kiss on both cheeks, and he goes into his crib.

7:00 Andy and I come downstairs. I feed the cats and scoop their litter and close them up in the kitchen and basement so that Andy doesn't have to see or hear them. We watch TV. I knit.

9:30 We pack it in. Hugo goes out. There's some final tidying in the kitchen, or else there's not, and it gets left for the morning.

10:15 Andy's usually asleep by now, and I'm knitting and watching TV in bed.

11:00-ish I go to sleep.