Twenty-two Catches

Advance apologies to Mr. J. Heller, as I can already anticipate the list below straying from the original logic meant to portray the title of his book… and morphing into a diatribe of “things that annoy me.” I also acknowledge that some items are better filed under “irony” or “cruel, cruel world.” Oh well, here goes:

The Catch 22s of Raising a Baby

1. Kids under age two receive free admission to fun places like Disneyland and professional sports events, but they won’t remember a darn thing about the experience.

2. Animals are stressed around the baby, but are so eager to be around her.

The hunter and the hunted
The hunter and the hunted

3. Likewise, pets who “claim” to dislike the baby sure do fret when she’s gone. Like shedding a ton and defecating in inappropriate places fret.

4. The physiologically healthiest age to have a baby is also the most mentally fragile. Doubt me? Dig up your journal entries from age 16. Go ahead– I’ll wait.

5. Daycare Flexible Spending Account annual allowance is $5,000. (I’m told that has been the stagnant limit for some time, now.) I can burn through that in 4 months. Give me a real challenge.


6. Baby products exist that shouldn’t be used. Baby wipe warmers cause bacteria. Cameras that have two-way mics freak out the kids and cause years of therapy. And so on.

7. You finally have decent jobs and don’t have to borrow from your parents (as often). You’re a DINK, which sounds bad, but is really fun. Then your misleading bank account tricks you into thinking you can finally afford a kid. Well, you can, but that’s about all.

8. The new life form we must be most alert to watch over, care for and protect requires rapt attention and well-rested reflexes. And we’re more tired than we’ve ever been because of said life form’s crazy, inhumane schedule. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Text to my intern. He's only 20, but it doesn'tt stop him from calling me out!
Even my 20 year-old intern calls me out.

9. Daycare is open long hours to acommodate the various schedules of working parents, but I feel like a such a bad mom when needing to use the full day.

10. We try to put away money for an unknown future college inflating at an unknown percentage for an unknown number of years. Plus, in order to fully fund what FAFSA estimates tuition will be in 18 years, we would need to sock away even more than the annual limits allow and invest in things that return more than legal venues would allow for. I didn’t just say that.

11. This is not so much a Catch 22 as just a general complaint. (See? I told you it would happen.) I cannot keep up with the “expert” opinions of childrearing. One of my mentors told me that her three children literally slept in different positions, depending on what the pediatricians were saying at the time: stomach, side, back.

What’s more, it used to be a steadfast rule that babies shouldn’t be exposed to allergenic foods such as eggs and peanuts before a certain age because they thought it caused higher sensitivity. Now it’s recommended to give babies these foods as early as possible! My head’s spinning…

12. Babies get colds but you can’t give them medicine.

13. One night we got a really polished N’Sync routine down. We were dancing without any issues for at least three songs! Then when we went to grab a headband accessory and a video camera, this happened:

14. Your arms hurt, the baby is heavy and your hands are full. A stranger suddenly comes out of nowhere and offers to hold the baby while you load your car… tempting, but no. They leave and your grocery bag busts open and everything rolls in ten different directions.

15. We buy more fresh fruits and vegetables than we’ve ever done before in our life… all to blend together for baby food that goes right in the freezer.

16. We’re supposed to speak like adults to the baby, but at the same time we’re told that mirroring her sounds gives her confidence and encourages speech. Which is it? Full sentences, or gibberish?

17. Germs are good. Build strength. See #12.

18. It is important to spend quality time with your kid… who creates more time-sucking work than you ever thought possible.

Every. Other. Day.
Every. Other. Day.

19. I am so excited to see who she’ll become, but I simultaneously wish I could freeze time and keep her from growing up.

20. Books at young ages are crucial to literacy. If literacy is measured in corners chewed and pages torn out, then enroll that infant at Harvard! Doogie Howser, look out.

21. Screens are bad. Computers, televisions, phones, tablets. Bad bad bad bad. Until she’s in a new place and getting ready to pull an “I’m sitting on Santa Claus” face. Well, then the distraction of moving pictures and sounds is a welcome (necessary?) respite.

22. She has a plethora of hand-me-downs that are perfectly suitable. But that doesn’t stop us from eyeing the upgrades.

New feeding chair hangs from the table, rotates 360 degrees and does your taxes to within a 5 cent accuracy.
New feeding chair hangs from the table, rotates 360 degrees and does your taxes to within a 5 cent margin of error.

Dude, where’s my blog?

It’s right here, even though it has taken me almost two weeks to catch up with writing.  That might not seem so strange, except I averaged over three posts per week in 2014.

So… Why the hiatus?

Besides work, life, baby-raising and the like, I was having an existential crisis about the internet at large.

Though I claim not to be a Millennial, I realize that some timelines have me just barely looped in, like a cat who is making a mad dash out of the room, but gets yanked back by its tail for some unwanted snuggles.  Just when I think I’m in the clear, a random Fast Company article or Buzzfeed page throws me right back in with those selfie taking, rapid texting, emotional heart-sleeved kids who are rocking the social world as we know it.

I try not to participate in social media too much (says the blogger).  I don’t partake in the Book of Faces, try to recreate impossible crafts on Pinterest, or send regrettable shots via Snapchat (or do I?  Ha, ha–J/K, Mom).  In fact, spell check had to correct “Pintarest” and I had to ask Kate what “that thing is that erases pictures right away.” So there you have it.

However, I do have a Twitter account for the sheer purpose of following comedians, newsfeeds and TED talks.  And two weeks ago it got hacked.  Suddenly, my Flipboard was filled with Japanese Tweets, adverts and a random assortment of Twitter Spam (Twam?  Spitter?) from an additional 100 accounts that I didn’t sign up to follow.  So I deleted every one by hand, only to have them reappear within 24 hours.

I was spooked.

After changing a password, scrubbing down my devices and pondering jumping ship altogether, I realized that Little Bug is going to have it much, much worse. Yes, I’m posting silly pictures and anecdotes of her online, but I’m trying very hard to maintain our anonymity due to the number of non-family/friend followers (not that I don’t appreciate all of you).  She will have a much harder struggle to stay private, and maybe that’s not something future generations will even be afforded.  Who knows?  (Maybe Mark Zuckerberg, author of the 2022 Zuckerberg Bill that allows for unlimited online snooping, knows the future of privacy.  Other than that it is anyone’s guess.)

I’ve barely scratched the surface of tech fears related to Little Bug, but mabye that can be another cheerful post down the road.  In the meantime, I’ll be brushing up on my What’s Apps and other things “on the line.”  Gotta know what these kids are up to.

Ha ha, you’re it, Friend.

Actual conversation yesterday:

Me: “… so I have no idea what to do about it.”

Friend: “What does your baby book say?”

Me: “You’re my baby book.”

Guess what, Little Bug? You’re being raised via anecdotes told over coffee, during training runs, or in the office.  Our parenting moves are literally shadowing friends, friends of friends and the occasional T.V. show.  So when you apply for the “raised in dire circumstances” scholarship, you can just use the contents of this blog as proof.

Resoluted (guest blog)

Hi, it’s Lucie again! I’m just writing to brag about all of the New Year’s resolutions I’ve been knocking out, starting with a big move to a whole different town on New Year’s Eve.  Sadly, I was so tuckered out by all of the action that I didn’t get to see the ball drop… unless by “ball” you mean giant jar of marmelade and by “drop” you mean pulled forcefully to the floor by moi.  If that’s the case, then yes, I did get to see that!

Okay, back to the bragging.

Resolution #1: Get artsy (yes, that’s paint on my face, so what?)

Talk about surreal! Salvador Dali has nothing on LRR.
Talk about surreal! Salvador Dali has nothing on LRR.

Resolution #2: Get active

If at first...
If at first… don't succeed...
…you don’t succeed…
Dust yourself and smile again!
Dust yourself and smile again!

Resolution #3: Take care of myself

What's this do?
What’s this do?

Resolution #4: Change the scenery

This box tases delicious! I think it should be used for kitchen items.
This box tases delicious! I think it should be used for kitchen items.
I'm going to keep a close eye on these boxes of toys...
I’m going to keep a close eye on these boxes of toys…

Resolution #5: Keep lookin’ cute (travelling with a professional photographer doesn’t hurt)


The Polar Express

A parent with a baby walks into a restaurant. What is your immediate reaction?

A: “Awesome, now I have something to look at all night.”


B: “That’s it, we’re leaving.”


And there you have it: a world divided. Forget Republican v. Democrat, cake v. pie, or cat v. dog… baby v. no baby is the new polarity.

Don’t believe me? I invite you to come with us on an airplane, or even a mere 45-second elevator ride. Even when Little Bug is being sweet, like she is 87.5% of the time, we can almost see the thought bubbles of strangers formulating in a tight, confined space.

Pole Baby: “Omigosh, I want to poke it so badly. That’s probably weird, so I’m just going to make dumb faces off to the side of the parent and try to get the baby to smile at me. She’s smiling! I’m going to wave as though I’m air-drying my nails. Now she’s crying! Look away! Pretend like I wasn’t doing anything. Doo doo doo doo doo.

Pole No Baby: “Omigosh. #@*!. Yuck. Its face is leaking. Get that thing away from me. Gross. I’m going to sigh really loudly to express my disapproval and cross my arms just in case it tries to grab me. This ruins my entire day. Blah. Oh, now it is smiling at me. The worst. I’m going to sneer at it off to the side of the parent and try to get it to cry. Now it’s crying! Look annoyed!

Chris Van Allsburg, where are you on this spectrum?