What I write about when I am not writing about Lily:
You’ll see us lumbering down Lexington, leaning into the gall-force wind, negotiating the three foot snowbanks that accumulate on every cross walk. At first you might think that the off-kilter form approaching is an overgrown fourth-grader struggling with a Jansport loaded with a locker-worth of textbooks, but you would be wrong: it is a mother struggling with a backpack stuffed with baby. A baby named Lily.
And we are going for a walk, goddamn it.
Now, you might think this is a bit extreme considering that New York is in the grips of yet another record breaking blizzard. But I would encourage you not to judge too harshly until you have spent three consecutive days snowed in with an eight-month-old. After a certain amount of time, crazy things start to happen. You buzz the doorman just to chat. You finish the jar of peanut butter hidden in the back of the linen closet “for emergencies.” You design several sets of baby clothing made of nothing but Swiffer sheets and then you dye them pink using the diluted juice of canned beets only to realize that this eliminates their inherent Swifferability.
Inevitably, the moment arrives when you realize that if you do not get out of your (“godforsaken”) apartment, you’re going to strangle yourself with your beet-stained fingers. And you look over at your poor, static-sheet-wearing, peanut-butter-smeared baby and realize that she feels the exact same way.
But you glance outside and your heart sinks. It is clear that that not even the Bob can get through the four-foot drifts blocking the sidewalks. And then you think about the article you just read in Outside magazine about the guy who chopped off his own hand to escape from the canyon where he was pinned and you remember that everyone has to do tough things to survive, so you pull the Ergo carrier out of the closet where it has been collecting dust and you decide that Lily will just have to ride on your back.
[For those of you who have never strapped a struggling seventeen-pound baby to your back, please refer to my convenient instructions. For those of you who are familiar with this maneuver, please pass the Motrin and let me have a sip of your Merlot.]
So there you are, scaling the snowbanks at every intersection, looking like a forgotten member of Shackleton’s expedition. And, like poor Sir Ernie, you’re about to lose heart. This baby is heavy. Your fingers are numb. And in the back of your mind, you know that everyone is staring at you and judging you for taking a baby outside in this madness.
But then something amazing happens. Lily pinches her legs around your waist and starts bouncing up and down. “Baaaaa!!!!”, she whoops, “Baaaaabaaaa!!!!!!” You can hear her panting in excitement and she swings her head from left to right, unable to take it all in quickly enough. And suddenly it occurs to you that, in spite of the cold and the wind and the miserable drifts, Lily is having an absolute blast. You remember that for her, the world as-is is shocking enough, and suddenly she has found herself gliding through a snow globe full of fat white flakes. With each exhale, magical puffs of steam escape from her mouth. All the neighbors are wearing silly hats as they walk tiny dogs wearing silly shoes. The streets have never been so quiet, the city has never been so still.
“Yes!” you shout, “Snoowwwwww!” And you start skipping down the sidewalk, kicking up puffs of snow as Lily squeals with glee.
And everyone is staring at you again. And you couldn’t care less . . .
This is my tribute to Pioneer Woman Cooks. I wanted to call it Urban Mama Hooks (her baby to her back) but for some reason Alex finds this upsetting so we will call this a working title for now . . .
1. Place carrier on bed with straps loose
2. Place baby’s unsnapped snowsuit on top of carrier
3. Deposit baby on top of snowsuit
Baby will begin fighting. Stay calm and, most importantly, stay focused.
[I am omitting pictures of the next three steps. I have enough legal issues as is.]
4. Use your non-dominant hand to pin baby’s upper body
5. Using free hand, stuff baby’s lower body into snowsuit legs (it is essential that you do this rapidly or baby will bite your non-dominant hand)
6. Release baby’s upper body and immediately stuff failing arms into top of snowsuit
7. Snap snowsuit closed (this is like saying “dismantle time bomb using only this bobby pin while humming the Rent soundtrack backwards)
Here is where things get crazy.
8. Facing outwards, lie on top of your baby
Baby will be temporarily stunned. Seize the moment.
9. Snap carrier belt around your waist and link arms through straps
10. Before baby has a chance to worm away/bite your neck, stand up
Congratulations – you have hooked your baby onto your back. Now good luck getting into your coat.
I haven’t posted in a while, and for this I blame Proctor & Gamble. I can’t tell you how many hours I have wasted on hold with their customer relations department. No, I didn’t expect it to be easy to pitch them on my awesome idea, but I also didn’t expect it to be like trying to get Obama on the line.
Let me rewind a bit. Lily has developed a very cute reverse scooch that has her shuffling backwards across the hardwood floors in our apartment. The kid can really make tracks, and it only takes about two scooches for her to become covered in dust bunnies and stray hair.
This brings to me my brilliant idea: Baby Swiffer Pants. Think about it: instead of cleaning the floor so that your baby can crawl around, you could put your baby in a pair of Swiffer pants and let her go to town! It’s a win-win: well-exercised baby, thoroughly dusted hardwoods. Once your baby tires out, simply remove the Baby Swiffer Pants, drop them in the trash can, and be on your way.
Naturally, the pants would come in assorted colors and styles. Bootleg, matchstick, etc. etc. And you know what? The heck with you, P&G. Lily and I are bringing these to market on our own.
We’ve already developed a prototype . . .
At Harvard, we debated things like, “If a tree falls in a forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” Okay, fine, you got me: my classmates debated things like that. I debated the validity of my fake ID with the proprietor of Tommy’s Convenience Store. Regardless, the tree thought experiment came back to me yesterday when Lily peed in the bath. It’s got to be something about the warmth because this kid just lets it loose every time her tush hits the tub.
So here’s my thought experiment for you: if a baby pees in a bathtub, and no one notices, can we consider the baby clean?
I wasn’t always this way. In fact, I descend from a long line of women famous for their cleanliness. My grandmother was known to have regularly ironed underwear.
The first time I realized that Lily was peeing in the bath, I promptly pulled her from the water, drained the tub, and started fresh. But then she did it the next night. And the one after that.
Come a little closer so I can whisper in your ear.
At a certain point, I stopped pulling Lily out. It’s not so easy to lift a soaped up, urinating, fifteen pound infant out of a bathtub. A wet baby is slippery, for one thing, and she does not take too kindly to waiting on a tile floor while a fresh bath is drawn. And hey, “drop in the ocean,” right?
Now when the characteristic yellow cloud appears, I just turn my head in the other direction, hum a little ditty (“Yellow Submarine”), and then swish the bathwater around a bit. Within moments, I am back to fastidiously scrubbing behind Lily’s ears and between rolls of chub, decidedly oblivious to the fact that the water I am using to wash Lily may be, shall we say, a wee bit less clean.