Month-Appropriate Madness.

by Alexa on March 22, 2013

¶ Satan’s Kernels 2: The Fast and The Furious

The week before last, I took Twyla to the pediatrician for what I was certain was an ear infection. As it happens, you can read all about my reasons for the visit and the visit’s outcome here, in an entry I wrote in 2009 about an identical experience with Simone, because apparently I have learned nothing. Now, as then, the culprit was determined to be NOT the child in question’s ears, but the impending eruption of her first set of molars/Satan’s Kernels. The salient difference between then and now is the age of said child: then, Simone was 17 months/13 months adjusted. Twyla turned nine months old a week ago.

At nine months, she has eight teeth, and now she is growing molars. WHY? What could she possibly need molars for, at this age? She’s like a six year old with an unlimited data plan, or a barista with a corporate lawyer on retainer. They are utterly gratuitous, these molars.

I can’t see them yet, but I can feel their lumpy hideouts, and the pediatrician got a good look in there with her baby flashlight. I can see the drool and hear the screaming, so. If I had any faith at all in those amber teething necklaces I would be draping them around poor Twyla’s nonexistent neck, but I can’t come up with a plausible mechanism by which they would be effective, so we are stuck with ibuprofen and chew toys for now. Unfortunately, that little spin I took through my archives/memory lane suggests that Satan’s Kernels can take months to finally emerge.

It’s a good thing that Twyla is generally absurdly delightful.

(HOW delightful, you ask? Here is a 20 second sample:

You can see why I don’t drown her in the river.)

¶ We call it the Pen-Opticon…

Twyla is fast, and I’m not just talking about the precocious tooth development–she moves quickly, scooting around the room sitting up. You’d think the large head that has effectively made crawling impossible would also prove an impediment to speed while seated, in the manner of the ball portion of a ball and chain, but alas, no. I do not remember this being as much of a problem with Simone, which I attribute to a combination of several factors:

-When Simone was a baby, there was no older child scattering dangerous/compelling detritus hither and yon

-When Simone was a baby, she was less determined to put the whole world, piece by piece, into her mouth

-When Simone was a baby, I had a part time nanny (oh, those halcyon days), giving me some guaranteed work time each week (Incidentally, do you know what irks me? Conversations about mothers who stay home with their children or work from home that include snide “not everyone can AFFORD to do that” remarks, obviously assuming that working full time outside the home is always the most financially feasible option, and anything else is a luxury. I am certain that this is true in some cases, but in many OTHER cases–ahem, MINE–day care costs would make working outside the home LESS profitable than part-time-from-home work.) (Not sure where that came from, but apparently it wanted out.)

My pre-tangent point was that I never felt the need to purchase one of those baby-containing cages/pens for Simone. I managed just fine without one, and when Simone was a baby, I was still semi-committed to keeping our small apartment looking like something other than a daycare center. (I have…more or less given up on this, for the time being.)

However, within the last month it has become obvious that for this new model of baby, some sort of kennel was going to be necessary. I am paid by the hour, and if I spend 45 minutes of every one of my hours replacing Twyla in the center of the room and/or removing various choking hazards from her delighted grasp, it attentuates my possible work schedule dramatically, which in turn cuts into my budget for such household fripperies as food and electricity.

(Simone, as you can see, is also a fan of what she refers to as “Twyla’s Pen.”)

Do you remember when Baby Simone came scooting over to ask me to read her a certain book and I got these pictures?
I think we need a similar set of Twyla in her Pen, holding a copy of Surveiller et Punir

¶ Less lion/lamb, more albatross

March is usually one of my favorite months. The snow is melting, the sun is shining, the temperature is balmily in the 40s, then 50s. Spring is coming at last, and I am secure in the knowledge that soon I will be able to wear fetching shoes without ruining them in the filthy slush. USUALLY. This March is different. And by different, to be clear, I mean worse. Bad. Undesirable.

Now, look. I take a sort of pride in our cold, inhospitable winters. As a bookish, fearful sort, I have precious few opportunities to display toughness, and my insouciance in the face of frigid temperatures makes me feel hardy. But in exchange for my tolerance–celebration, even–of Minnesota’s harsh winter, I expect said winter to know its place. A little snow in March is fine. Still having snowbanks as tall as my 5-year-old is not. “Chilly” is fine. Windchills well below zero? NOT. In a fit of pique I googled “when will all the snow be gone minnesota” just now, and the news was not encouraging. The ground is so frozen and the snow so deep that much of it is expected to persist well into April. Damn it to HELL. (Where at least it would be WARM.)

¶ The town will not be toddling, as I am leaving my children at home.

Happily, I do have something to look forward to: my very first business trip! I suppose my book tour was a “business trip,” in its way, but this is a BUSINESS business trip with meetings, and I am terribly excited. I don’t talk much about my work here, but I suppose there is no harm in telling you that I am currently working as a freelance speechwriter. I am going to Chicago for two nights next month, and I am going to sleep for hours and hours with no children. If I find so much as ONE child in my bed I am going to call housekeeping and have it removed.

The trip was supposed to be for one night only, but as my first meeting is early in the morning I am staying the night before on my own dime so as not to risk a flight delay (and in order to get as much fun out of the thing as possible). I will have that first evening in the city to eat an uninterrupted meal and sleep an uninterrupted sleep and then in the morning I will take the train/subway (El? I believe it is the El in Chicago?) to the (reportedly lovely) suburb where I will have my meetings and stay my second night, flying out directly after my last meeting the next day. Technically I could take a cab from the city to my meeting/hotel #2, but I sort of adore public transportation, so I am doing that instead, despite my mother’s insistence that my suitcase will make me A Target For Pickpockets.

¶ Business, speaking of

Lastly, I think I got addresses from everyone who requested a copy of my book in the comments of the last post (I couldn’t just pick two of you, because HONESTLY), and I’ll be sending the packages out early next week. I think this is something I’d like to do a bit more of. I don’t have any more copies lying around, but I can certainly BUY some, and I’d like every possible NICU to have a signed (with encouraging note?) copy for parents to borrow, so if you know of a NICU that might like one, send their information along and I will make a list and mail them out as I am able to rustle up the funds. It seems a little presumptuous to more or less press my book into people’s hands and god knows it has many (many! MANY) flaws, but it is something I would have liked to have at the time, so why not.
(I realize that an author buying her own book in order to give it away to others is not really the customary business model, but there you are.)

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