I don’t think I’ve been this excited about it being Friday since the mid 80’s when the video for that song about not having to take your clothes off to have a good time, that the good time could be had drinking cherry wine, ran in regular rotation on “Friday Night Videos.” Somewhere in the basement I have a VHS tape with that video and the one for “Papa Don’t Preach” and that Peter Cetera song from one of the Karate Kid movies. I blame my parents for that serious lapse in good taste because they never taught me to look outside of popular radio and television for music, and they only smiled with pride when they found out that I had made a cassette filled entirely with “We are the World,” taped off the radio, over and over and over again. As a socially responsible parent I will make sure Leta knows about Bob Dylan and Miles Davis and Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix and Milli Vanilli.
I am ever so excited about this weekend because it means Jon gets to stay home from work and we can resume our tag team dynamic. Ever since he went back to work on Monday morning I feel like I’ve been running a marathon that doesn’t seem to have an end. Leta is a very good baby, she doesn’t cry very much and is content to just look around and grunt and poop, but I have never been so nervous or worried or frantic in my entire life. Is that poop the right color? Is she breathing too fast? Her feet are BLUE! Are her eyes supposed to cross like that? Someone warn Mexico, her eyebrows are threatening to annex!
Here are a few things I have learned in the last five days of being home alone with a baby:
1. A good day is defined entirely by how many personal hygiene operations I can complete successfully. Brushing my teeth = pretty good day. Brushing my teeth + brushing my hair = I’m doing really good. Brushing my teeth + brushing my hair + taking a shower = I HAVE TAKEN A SHOWER! BEHOLD MY MOTHERLY ABILITIES!
2. Babies come equipped with an internal altimeter and know the exact moment you decide to sit down while holding them. Leta’s altimeter is so sensitive that it sets off an alarm when my knees start to bend, so I basically can’t even think about sitting down when I’m trying to calm her down. Sometimes we perform a jangly polka of sorts where I start to bend my knees and she starts to fuss, and then I stand up straight again, and she stops fussing. Bend, fuss . . . up, no fuss! Bend, fuss . . . up, no fuss! Everybody, now!
3. Sleep deprivation is the REAL weapon of mass destruction. Why the Bush administration isn’t investigating babies and their conspiracy to drive their parents abso-fucking-lutely insane with the no sleeping thing is the real tragedy of his time in office. Babies know how to poop, they know how to eat, THEY HAVE TO KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS, FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. At 2 am every morning she looks up at me with these huge Armstrong eyes as if to say Where’s the party? I was under the impression that there was a party going on. Take me to the party.
4. Why do they have to poop THREE SECONDS after you’ve changed their diaper?
5. Leta does NOT like “American Idol.” This is a serious crisis as it is at the top of our TiVo Season Pass list, and how can she possibly call herself an Armstrong if she doesn’t consume low-brow American pop culture with the same hunger she approaches mama’s breasts?
6. Breastfeeding has gotten much, much easier due entirely to the fact that my nipples have become so numb and calloused that I could safely nurse a full grown crocodile without feeling the slightest pinch. They always said that I’d be surprised at how big my boobs would get when my milk finally came in, but this is fucking ridiculous, people. My cleavage is up around my chin, and I feel like I could shoot rockets at low flying satellites out my avocado-hard nipples. When Leta is 12 years old and asks why her breasts aren’t as big as Loni Anderson’s breasts, I will comfort her immediately by telling her, “You just wait, sweetie. One day you will have boobs so big that the dog will look up at you with an expression that asks WHAT THE FUCK ARE THOSE??”
7. Baby poop smells like buttered popcorn.
Right now I’m going to go celebrate the advent of the weekend by bending over and touching my toes, over and over again. I will never be able to approach the process of tying my shoes the same again, as now it is a glorious celebration of ease and speed. I am a mad and mean bending over machine, and I will most likely spend the majority of my weekend bumping my belly into walls and countertops JUST BECAUSE I CAN.