Due to Extenuating Circumstances

Adventures in Unplanned Parenthood

Archive for the tag “#humor”

Standing Orders

Baby has decided he simply will not crawl. This is a thing he politely declines, thank you all the same. However he’s pretty interested in standing, which of course will lead to walking. He understands the essential mechanisms required; he can put his right foot under his butt, use his arms to creep up the couch, then heave himself up so he can support himself on the cushions of the couch. The problem, as far as I can tell, is his left foot. It keeps rolling inwards.

I thought it would help if I gently pushed his left foot onto the ground and gave him something fun to reach for as an incentive. First I tried a cute song where I sing as I softly push his precious little toesies into place. Failure. He has a big yellow truck he likes to push around so I set it on the couch and we try standing again. Right foot planted, hands balanced on the couch and… nope. Left foot caves and he falls on his butt. Try again just the same and…no good. Maybe the truck isn’t a good enough incentive? I put the remote up there. Like all humans born male, he feels an instinctive gravitational pull to anything that will control a TV. 75% of the way there…damn. Complete mission failure due to insufficient support on the left. By now he’s frustrated and I figure the last thing he needs is pressure. So we abandon the game and I run to answer the phone.

When I come back, he’s crying. Oh my goodness, what’s wrong? Did I push him too far? Is he frustrated? Is his left ankle too weak? So I try to comfort him and move on with our play session. This is weird though. He really is crying and now he looks like he means it. So, crying cessation checklist please. Hungry? No. Teeth hurting? No. Nose running? No. Diaper wet? No. Well, wait. That’s weird. His diaper is dry, but he’s stopped crying. “Are you hot? Does that feel better, if we have a little Naked Baby Time?”

Sure enough. I peel off his pants and onesie and set him back in his play area on the floor. But. Malaise. Not crying, but not happy. I press his favorite buttons on the yellow truck. Meh. I put the fuzzy red football in the truck and make it vroom around. Meh. Let’s put on Daniel Tiger! You LOVE the opening song! Meh.

Good Lord, kid, you have got to work it out yourself because I really need the bathroom. In the 37 seconds I’m gone I hear him make some babbling sounds, then a giggle, then hysterical laughter. What’s this ridiculous magic? What have you found that Mommy couldn’t provide in the last 45 minutes?

I come out of the bathroom, drying my hands on my hair because (let’s face it) that’s where my recent beauty regimen is peaking at the moment, and I see the source of my son’s delight. He is in his diaper, with the nearest trashcan completely upended, and he is eating dirty Kleenex. There are bits of soggy tissue on the carpet, in his hair, around his mouth, up his nose, on the cat, and strewn around the couch cushions.

My son, whom I am lovingly guiding towards a fulfilling future of reaching milestones at appropriate times without undue pressure, will not stand for a fun song, a truck or a TV remote. But he will stand to take bits of snotty Kleenex out of his mouth and grind it into the couch cushions.

I’ll say this for myself: I did replace the tissue he was eating with an unused one. My child might be naked, knocking over trashcans and eating garbage while I watch Daniel Tiger and drink Jameson’s Irish Whiskey straight from the bottle, BUT. By God, my son will be eating a CLEAN Kleenex before he grinds it into my couch cushions, thank you very much.


Reasons My Baby is Crying

One year old edition:

  1. He is not allowed to stick his head in the living room trash can
  2. I won’t let him eat splinters the cat has scratched off of the baskets that were supposed to be a tasteful and low-budget place to put away toys in the living room
  3. He waved a plastic spoon at the cat, the cat tried to catch it in his claws, and it scared him. Which then scared the cat. I now have a crying baby and an actual, substantive scaredy cat in my living room.
  4. The baby isn’t allowed to throw Cheerios at me while I’m trying to feed him food that contains anything other than Cheerios
  5. The Cheerios are damp because he drooled on them
  6. The Cheerios are missing because he threw them on the ground
  7. We’re out of Cheerios
  8. Mommy left him alone to put on pants that can be seen outside the house so she can BUY MORE FUCKING CHEERIOS WHAT, DID YOUR BIRTH PARENTS BUY YOU STOCK IN GENERAL MILLS?
  9. Daddy can be heard on the stairs but not seen.
  10. Daddy can be seen in the kitchen but isn’t talking directly to him.
  11. Daddy is looking at him and talking to him but he wants the cat.
  12. He’s not allowed to eat paper towels
  13. He’s not allowed to suck on the ends of computer charging cords
  14. He is only allowed one episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood a day, and that’s 7/8 more of an episode than Mommy can handle without doing something more stimulating, like sticking her hand in a Veg-O-Matic
  15. He wonders why his train stops rolling when it hits something
  16. He stood up using the bottom of the couch for support then got scared of heights
  17. He smelled his own fart and got angry
  18. He saw a picture of himself on my phone then got sad when the screen went blank
  19. “Rock Out Elmo” fell over and it looks like he’s having a seizure
    • OK, I’ll give him that one
  20. I came in from shoveling snow and directly went to put my cold hands in his pajamas to change his diaper.
    • OK, I give him that one, too.

Iowa, one year later

Dear Iowans,

I generally enjoy your state, although I can’t claim any regular or lasting contact with it. I have fond memories of high school speech tournaments in Ottumwa which is famous for being the home of fictional character Radar O’Reilly and a Breadeaux pizza which tasted liked youth, enthusiasm and freedom when I was 15. My cousin got a very nice doctorate from one of your schools and she seems to being doing quite a bit of good with it, so well done there. You supported us for 3 weeks when the Baby came barreling into our lives at the speed of light. You probably shouldn’t put the Horseshoe Hotel and Casino on your postcards, nevertheless we have great memories of completing our family there. You even have a baseball movie about you, which is a very nice feather in your cap and it should feel good that you made the last ever Kevin Costner movie that wasn’t an hour too long or needed a budget concerning Kevin’s vanity CGI hairplug requirements.

You’re pretty liberal for a place as close to Nebraska as you are. In 1869 you had America’s first female lawyer. You were ahead of us on gay marriage. Your 2013 Miss Iowa was a fantastic lady named Nicole Kelly; she had one arm. That’s progressive, and, full disclosure, Nikki was Mac’s student and she let him wear the crown and everything. You need to be confident in your masculinity and genuinely be liked by your students to wear Miss Iowa’s crown with a smile on your face. He had fun and Nikki has helped lots of people born with disabilities, so thanks for that.

On February 1st you’ll caucus, Iowa. It’s America’s first real litmus test on who is going to be primetime and who’s left in the dust of election history. As you prepare, I ask you for this, as a humble Nebraskan who is the mother of a son born in your great state:


Please remember that this is the little boy that Donald Trump dismissed as being lesser. Trump said we can’t be sure what kind of person he’ll be because he was born of Mexican residents currently residing in the US. Donald Trump thinks he knows something about how this little boy will behave, will dream, will think, will act because he is of the same blood that brought us Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Guillermo Del Toro, Anthony Quinn (yes, really!), Octavio Paz, Pancho Villa and Salma Hayek.

I’m not asking that all of you vote for a Democrat. I strenuously believe in the economic values upheld by the Republican party; without them, people like Mac and I would tax everybody 87%. We’d have three protective social policies in place for every human in the US, plus some very nice programs for cats, dogs, hamsters, under-appreciated plants, foods that are no longer trendy and a Medicaid equivalent for unhealthy looking goldfish. There needs to be balance for the system to work and that makes sense to me.

Iowa, can we agree balance doesn’t involve tracing Muslims? It doesn’t require policing breastfeeding? Should balance look like shaming the overweight, making fun of the disabled or infantilizing women? Can we shake hands on finding a conservative candidate who isn’t actually a radical in expensive sheep’s clothing?

Iowa, your Mexican-American son needed you a year ago to guide him to my loving arms. You were so generous you let him come to Nebraska when you could have selfishly kept such a superior baby for yourself. He needs you again. This time, he needs you to fight for the right to be a fully invested, flag waving, America loving, real-live nephew of his Uncle Sam. Please vote for somebody that lets my son proudly be the American in Mexican-American.

Thank you, Iowa.



On the level

Experts say that when you speak to a child, you should get down to their eye level to talk to them. I have also read that the most efficient method of childproofing your home is to crawl around on your hands and knees to see the room the way your child does. After an extended effort to see his world through Baby’s eyes, I have learned this unavoidable truth: my 11 month old son is running rings around me and there is no way to stop him.

Baby and I spent an hour in our little living room, examining the landscape together. The following is a complete and unedited transcript of the event as it happened.

Me: Let’s start at our previously established weak point, the entertainment center. Now that it’s padlocked and braced with extra dowels inside, components are secured. TV is far enough back, the cabinet is screwed to the wall, and pushing the center at baby’s level reveals little to no wobbling/shaking. Excellent. Moving on…

Baby: Hey look! There’s a baby in there! What if I wave hi? HOMG he’s waving…wait. It’s me in there! How did I get in there? I need to pound on the glass to feel me in there! poundpoundpoundpoundpoundpoundpoundpound

Me: Bookshelves flanking entertainment center: screwed into walls and we put the heaviest books on the bottom of the shelves. He can’t pull them out and all the chock- chotzkees-chochky dammit. Trinkets are out of reach.

Baby: poundpoundpoundpoundpoundpoundpoundpoundooooh! Books! I love books! I’m gonna pull some out and suck on one. I like the big green one. Pull out and GAH! HEAVY! Sad. So sad. Too heavy to put in my mouth, so saaaaad and waaaaaaaaah.

Me: Hey! What’s wrong? Are you OK? Why are you–wait. Where are you going?

Baby: OSCAR! IFUCKINGLOVETHISCAT. Gotta follow the cat. Gotta follow the cat. Gotta follow the cat. NO! I wanna snack on the book! Noooo, follow the cat!

At this point baby executes a move where he buttscoots half way across the room only to do a 180 and come right back. We call this his Crazy Ivan move.

Me: Soft. Soft, baby. Soft! If you want to pet Oscar you have to be soooooft. Hey– Oscar fits under the couch. Could Baby fit under the couch? I’m going to see how big the opening is… ooof. Oh man. I think I’m stuck halfway under the couch. SOFT, BABY!

Baby: Mommy’s busy. I bet this is a good time to see if the stairs are free.

Me: No! No! Hey! Hey! Baby! Look! Come here! Don’t go over there, don’t go (sound of me dislocating shoulder from under couch) WAIT! What about the Christmas tree? That’s new! That’s shiny! That’s tantalizing and forbidden and just out of reach! Why don’t you head for that?

Baby: Yeah, I saw that go up. Honestly, it’s so obviously a trap I can’t be bothered.

Me: No really! It’s there all month! Lights, shiny ornaments, breakable things, this should be your Mardi Gras.

Baby: Mommy, put your shoulder joint back in then pick me up so we can discuss the entrapment bullshit. You don’t even let me have cereal puffs without supervision, now the holiday shrub is fair game?

Me: Nah, you’re right. As long as we’re talking candidly, anything else you see down here you could kill yourself on?

Baby: You know I can’t stay away from the slidy thingies on the outlets but newsflash; that’s not the clear and present danger. The real story here is your stupid glider footstool.

Me: Beg pardon?

Baby: That sucker is amazing. If I pull myself up on it, I’ll lose my balance, fall backwards and bonk my head which is 10 minutes of crying at a minimum. If I pitch forward my only tooth will get knocked out. Thirty minutes crying plus a frantic call to your dentist. Check out the bottom of the footstool. Pinch my fingers or get bonked in the forehead depending on direction and force I push/pull. If I escape all that, I’ll push myself up on it, then try to walk and I’ll take my first steps all alone and you’ll miss it because you’re stuck under the couch. You have no idea what you’re doing, do you?

Me: Oh, for crying out loud. Isn’t it time for you to go to to the middle of the room and do a Crazy Ivan or something?

Baby: Good talk, mom. Where’s Oscar?



Guest Artist Series: Stacie Blair

Stacie is a New York City based performer and music teacher for children. She’s a trained opera singer who also enjoys playing the ukelele and doing day work on films. We both want to wish a very Happy Hanukkah to everyone who celebrates!

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (for Jews)

Written by Sarah Imes Borden and performed by Stacie Blair

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year


It’s the most wonderful time of the year

With the kids dreidel spinning

And betting who’s winning

While everyone cheers!

It’s the most wonderful time, of the year!


It’s the hap-happiest season of all

We light the menorah

And think of the torah

And eat doughnut balls!

It’s the hap-happiest season of all


We put on our yarmulkes

Celebrate Hanukkah

Laugh at your Christmas gift stress,

There’s no war on Christmas

We’re so glad we miss this

So Fox news just give it a rest!


It’s the most wonderful time of the night

Open some tchotchkes

And fry up our latkes

Then have a quick bite

For the eight days that we pause, not attack your Santa Claus

For our year-ly fest-i-val of light!!!

The wisdom to know the difference

Unless you live under an especially nonporous and far-flung rock, you know the quote about “the wisdom to know the difference.” This Thanksgiving weekend, I am deciding to embrace all of the things I cannot change.

  • My husband. If I could change what I don’t understand about Mac, someone else could change what I do understand, and love, and often secretly marvel at. I’d rather that not be the case.
  • The garage. It’s never going to be clean. It’s a black hole of old boxes with mysterious markings like “Donnie’s flatware.” It’s in handwriting I don’t recognize, and we don’t know anyone named Donnie. We also have bits of electrical equipment I don’t know how to use, a breadmaker from 2001, a giftwrap plastic holder that doesn’t close properly, giftwrap covered in finely ground sawdust, a sit-up exercising frame I should be using, a powersaw I should not, and an enormous bag of red solo cups. Who the hell is leaving flatware, cups and exercise equipment in my garage? I blame Donnie Wahlberg.
  • My students. I can teach, guide, ask, cajole, wheedle, bark, instruct and demonstrate. Not change.
  • My abdomen. My abdomen is a rogue nation in my world. The head negotiated with it, the heart pleaded with it, the gallbladder attacked it. Eventually the hand signed forms to remove large chunks of it and the legs gave up enabling it all the time. My mouth has imposed sanctions. My nerves are shot because of it. A coalition of the willing (eyes and feet) got it to as many specialists as it took, and still takes, to keep it in line with the global philosophy. They have all failed to make peace with it. So my ears are listening to every other body part and deciding some things will never be fixed.. We have extended a peacekeeping force to do what can be done.
  • Cat hair. We vacuum every day and dust three times a week. I don’t know where it comes from. We only have one cat. I wonder if he fleeces other cats and secretly brings it in while we’re at work. Every week I have enough hair to construct a whole new cat if I want. I’m thinking of going into the pillow business.
  • My friends’ friends. I never cared until Facebook. I’d better stop caring so much or I’m going to cyberthrottle someone I couldn’t pick out of a lineup in real life.
  • The plight of every suffering person.
  • The situation of every impoverished person.
  • The pain of every person who can’t tell Coke is better than Pepsi
  • The dried cereal stuck to my child. He can’t quit dropping the cereal puffs out of his mouth. They’re stuck EVERYWHERE. On the back of the highchair, on his butt, on the living room rug. I find them stuck in his hair, on bibs that got gluten-glued to diapers in his diaperbag, in the meshy part of his pack’n’prison. They’re mashed into the cat’s tail, on the welcome mat by the back door, in the mouth of the stuffed lion on his activity center, the back of Mac’s sweater and clogging up my tub’s drain. I have an incredible plan concerning cost-effective pothole repair with a Gerber sponsorship.These things are delicious cement just waiting to be activated by a hungry baby.
  • Donald Trump. He’s a natural disaster much like a tornado or a hurricane. You can’t stop it on your own, your best bet is to band together and help everyone in the aftermath.
  • Diapers
  • Dammit. Mac called me on my bullshit.
    • See the first sentence.

Sliding into Home

For generations, the Imes family has passed down a particular genetic anomaly that, while not fatal, causes a great deal of pain and anxiety to most of us. We find we fare best in the coldest months, when snow is falling and everything is ice cold. We generally begin to feel either benignly asymptomatic or slightly nauseated in the spring. During the summer bouts are frequent and we can feel the impact in our everyday lives. The condition rarely extends into late fall, but when it does it is, unquestionably, the most painful and distressing time of year. By the time October has ended we’re often hardly a shadow of our healthy, happier selves.

The Imeses are Cubs fans.

Being a Cubs fan is the arguably the best metaphor for life. It has certainly made me a better parent. Anyone who follows the Cubs is at least rounding third when it comes to vital life lessons regarding raising children. Watch:

  1. In your rookie year everyone will fall all over themselves the second your baby does anything interesting, adorable, picturesque or funny. After that first season, someone else’s baby gets to be the rookie sensation. You had your time, let someone else bask.
  2. Of COURSE your team is special to you, they’re YOURS. The truth is, to most everyone else they’re not that distinguishable from all the other goobers running around on the field. Seriously. Do you think your friends go home at night and talk about how great your kid did at the thing? No. They go home and talk about how everyone else should be watching their kid do the thing.
  3. It’s good to have ground rules and expectations, but if you ask for perfection you’re almost always going to be disappointed.
  4. Factor in errors. Nobody means to drop the ball, that’s why they’re called errors. If they weren’t so common they wouldn’t be a stat.
  5. Sometimes you do your very best and still lose. The proper way to handle this is to put your glove over your mouth, shout “DAMMIT!” and then get on with it. There’s no point in denying you’re disappointed, but you still have to get off the field and come back with a better plan.
  6. If you’ve given it all you’ve got and you’re failing, that’s why we have assistant coaches, bullpens, pinch hitters. Find what you need and call in reinforcements. A babysitter? A housecleaner? A therapist? A pot dealer? Why be miserable doing it alone when there are whole professions dedicated to helping make success easier?
  7. No matter how shitty this year is going, call it a building year and promise yourself next year your kid will be saner/smarter/less weird/smell nicer/not torch the cat. If last year was a building year and this year sucks too, say it’s a coaching problem and blame it on your spouse.
  8. Remember you have fans. Sometimes you screw up so badly you can’t even remember why somebody let you be in charge of a tiny person. Remember– your fans won’t give up on you. They have faith.
  9. If your fans are true Wrigley fans, they also have hot dogs and beer. You should get in on that action.
  10. This isn’t for dilettantes. It’s a true way of life so dress it, sleep it, talk it, walk it, be it.
  11. It might feel like decades, or even over a century, since your last big victory. Perhaps the string of small victories and joys is the way to get through parenting. It’s possible you won’t be there for the biggest victories but that doesn’t mean you didn’t help create them.
  12. When it all gets to be Too Much, blame a goat then get drunk.
  13. After you do that, bear in mind: there is always, always, always, always, always Next Year.
  14. Next Year, re-read number 13.

Oscar: Wild

As you may have noticed, the Extenuating Circumstances often end on a lighthearted note concerning Oscar, our much beloved cat. I adopted Oscar in a fit of total, total insanity.

There was a week about three years ago where SEVEN of my friends on Facebook messaged me to tell me they were going public with the news of their pregnancies. I dutifully answered each message with a “thanks for the heads up, I appreciate it, we’re fine, congrats, blah blah blah.” The truth was more like “thanks for the heads up, I appreciate the warning so I can comment on one picture of you glowing with your newborn, I need to block you so I don’t end up in a pool of tears every single time one of your posts crosses my feed, we’re not fine but we act like we are because we’re the real-life equivalent of the Harry Potter Dementors if we’re honest, I need to block you so my neurosis doesn’t get me hospitalized or fired. Congrats. Now hand me some tissues and a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Half Baked.”

The night of the seventh message, I calmly collected my materials, calmly drove to class, calmly delivered material on the role Michael Collins played in the Irish bid for Independence, then calmly walked to my car and had a complete nervous breakdown. I would have driven to the hospital or my house but I couldn’t remember where either one was located. My car drove itself to Pet Smart, which was a neat trick because at the time I drove a car so shitty that lemons were offended by the comparison.

The fact remains that I went to Pet Smart and picked out a small, cute orange cat. He was perfect. Then he ran away from me. So I picked up an old soggy thing that was shedding like it was his damn job. But he purred a little and was too lazy to run, so I adopted him instead.

That’s a lie. I forgot I had no money so my husband gave his credit card number over the phone. Mac had adopted and paid for a cat and didn’t even know it.

This is a testimony to the strength of my marriage. I brought this home:


and all Mac asked was “should I buy a litter box? Thus began life with Oscar the Grouch, famous for being found in a trash can.

As you are now well aware, in the wee hours of December 2014 we did add the baby to our family. We didn’t consult Oscar, it just happened. I have to give Oscar credit. He tolerates the new obnoxious kitten better than I had feared. The new kitten tries to eat his fur, grab his face, squeeze his tail, poke his eyes, and run sticky fat fingers over his belly. Oscar treats the kitten like an adorable little peasant that is amusing for a time. Oscar also walks away rather than retaliating, most of the time. One swipe at the baby’s face concerned me but it turned out Oscar chose to not use his claws. That’s pretty good restraint for a cat that had mom and dad to himself for three years.

Oscar and baby were both brought in to complete a puzzle that was missing some pieces. I like to think Oscar knows that. I like to think Oscar gets that we need the baby, just like we needed him, to avoid meltdowns in my car at 9:00 at night. But mostly, I think of Oscar as a testament to the strength of a family that isn’t born together, it’s brought together. The Borden household is a place where we find our family, and then put that family on a credit card. But that’s a tale for the next installment.

The Curious Incident of the Blog in the Nighttime

I often find myself staring at this screen, typing into the DtEC blog editing tool, late at night. On some level that doesn’t surprise me because I have always, always been a night owl. Whether I want it or not my brain likes to energize itself after dark. Consequently, getting up early is hell. I can *do* it when required in order to project a facade of adultness, but I really suck at it. What’s funny is that location, schedule, enjoyment of activity or even money make no difference. I spent a summer being paid to work in a theatre, live in the mountains and do nothing but act and live the good life. And I STILL hated dragging my ass out of bed for an 8 AM start. Lest you think this is a product of a permissive or neglectful upbringing, let me set the record straight.

My mom is very, very big into sleeping at night and being a productive member of society from 8 AM onward. Morning is morning. I rather thought my dad had the right idea; be a cop, work crappy hours, then sleep in the basement with tinfoil over the windows. Of course I can see now working third shift and raising kids at the same time probably sucked, not the least of which was that we turned his basement window well into a soccer goal and I was a shit goalie. The man didn’t sleep more than four hours at a time from 1984-1987. Still, working at night and sleeping in the day just looks right to me. It’s no different than clothes or music. Everyone has their taste and everyone secretly hates everyone else’s taste.

My husband, bless him, embraces my night owlish lifestyle. He also aids and abets me in hiding it from my mom. If I nap, sleep late, get out of bed at 4 for a piddling reason like a housefire, my mother can be counted on to utter The Prophecy. The Prophecy is always delivered in a tone of warning and fear, with a dash of menace:

“Sarah, you’re getting your days and nights switched around!”

The Prophecy never varies in word choice or tone. It is delivered with an intensity hitherto reserved for sentences like “no, this IS the last plane out of Saigon.”

So you can understand how adopting the baby was the first time in my whole life my mother ever gave permission to sleep and work these weird hours. She even said to me “you sleep when the baby sleeps.” Holy cow! My mom just gave me carte blanche! I can be up til 3! I can nap at 6 pm! This is going to be the only time in my life I don’t harbor a secret disquietude my schedule shames my entire family!

This should have been a relief. Hell, it should have been a cakewalk. In my stunning naiveté I thought the baby would sleep. This is a LIE. It’s a lie sold to the American consumer by cradle companies and mobile manufacturers. I blame Hollywood. All these ads of little swaddled bundles, with eyes closed and adorable nostrils gently fluttering. Bullshit. Utter bullshit. I lived in the same room as Baby for 3 weeks and I can tell you he never did anything that resembled substantive sleep.

What did he do? He waited until Mac and I had a loose schedule so we could attempt to even think about sleeping. Then the baby would close his eyes and snuggle into his little sleepsack, looking adorable. He’d make a tiny cooing sound. A few minutes later, a squeak. “Oh!” we’d say. “He’s so precious!” we’d say. Then little bubbles. And another coo. I’d close my eyes. All is well.

Wait– was that the baby? Did he squirm? Was that the sleepsack? Then a slight shift of Baby’s head and I’d immediately run over to the crib, desperately trying to remember the 5 Warning Signs of SIDS, Proper Swaddling 101, the number to 911 (answer: 911) and wishing the Bat Signal was a real thing.

I’d finally feel reassured Baby was OK, these were all normal sounds, and then phbbt. Well now, what the hell was that? A burp? A fart? Is he gassy? Does he need drops? Can we even give him drops? Robin’s a nurse, I should text her about those drops. Crap, my phone is where Mac is trying to sleep.


Now I’m definitely not going to sleep. Yes, technically I should be, since Baby is sleeping, but what was the phbbbbbbt? Is he hungry? Angry? Snotty? I give up. I have to go look again. And there I am, trying hard to find the source of this stupid noise, when it occurs to me AJ said moms can hear their babies even when the babies aren’t really making any noise at all. Oh GREAT. The ink isn’t even dry on the adoption papers and I’ll be carted off to a rubber room because I hear phantom phbbbbbbts at…midnight? 3 pm? The year 2017? Time and space have no meaning now. I have been awake since the dawn of man.

Which is why it gives me such infinite, sublime pleasure to have my mother babysit for us overnight. Sure, it means eating my dinner at the temperature God intended and the possibility of sex with my husband (don’t be daft. This is a family blog. We don’t actually have sex, we talk about it then fall asleep while trying to grade assignments handed in last fall that we never got to). And of course, the baby is a little prince most of the time for his beloved grandma. But there is a palpable satisfaction to showing up the next day knowing that no matter how fussy, how colicky, how cranky our bundle of joy was ALL NIGHT LONG, I always have the option of saying

“well sorry, Mom. Just sleep when he sleeps.”

I am raising a Somebody

I have noticed two odd behaviors that I never considered before I became a parent. One, why do I always address my child in the interrogatory? “Good morning? Did we sleep? Did we? Oh, look at you, are you a gorgeous baby or WHAT?!” Why am I asking him so many questions? It’s not like he’s going to answer. It’s not even like the questions need an answer. If I walk in on my child before noon, and he has been lying prone in his crib with closed eyes, then I should know that it’s morning and he has been asleep.If I own a watch and can identify a sleeping human there is no need for the Guantanamo treatment.

There are also questions that I do in a sing-song voice, and I always promised I wouldn’t do the Baby Voice. I hate the Baby Voice. It’s condescending and annoying. Plus, how can I expect him to talk and behave like a normal human when I speak to him in a key only my dog can hear? But there it is. I hear myself do it every day. “Are you happy to see me?” becomes


This goes on all day. “Are you hungry? Do you want some yogurt? Oooh! How about some applesauce in your yogurt?” If I ask a really long question I need a vocal warm up so I don’t blow my chords on the high C. I have so many fucking questions. The really strange questions, though, are the ones I refuse to acknowledge pertain to my particular baby. This is the second behavior I have noticed and I have absolutely zero explanation for it. These are the questions about my baby that are ostensibly not about my baby. These are always Somebody questions.

“Do I hear somebody crying?” The answer is always yes. If I didn’t hear the crying I would have left him to quietly chew on the cat’s tail while I grade 23 sophomore essays. That takes a long time to grade, when you factor in how to explain a sophomore in college shouldn’t be writing a sentence that contains no discernible verb.

“Did somebody poop his pants? Let’s check!” Come on, now. If there’s any question at all who pooped his pants and I’m not located in the center of a daycare or, for accuracy’s sake, a facility for the elderly, then there is something very wrong with somebody and I am that somebody.

“Did somebody fall over again? Oopsies!” Well, yes, Sarah. At any given moment it’s even betting that one of the world’s myriad narcoleptics, vertigo sufferers, Lindsay Lohan, what have you, has taken a tumble. If you’re staring at your baby and he’s no longer in the upright and locked position just PICK HIM UP.

“Is somebody cranky?” Yes, and it’s Mac. Next?

“Is somebody ready for a nap?” See above.

“Is somebody trying to drive mommy insane?” Lady, the list is endless.

“Is somebody succeeding?”

Yep. It’s Mommy.

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