More Rejection

I had had a fantasy that when I returned from the hospital after delivering Max, there would be an acceptance letter waiting for me.

I knew it was a stupid thought. Especially as how nowadays most journals send their acceptances via email message. The only things that arrives by post are bad news and bills.

There was no acceptance letter. But I did finally receive my rejection from Tin House.

By the way, I never posted my rejections from Subtropics, I don't think. Here's the one from 2008:

And here's the one from this year:

I still had three more submissions outstanding. And I hadn't heard anything new for a couple of months. But I recently spotted the dreaded thin tell-tale SASE envelope amongst the other mail. My stomach dropped a little. After all these years, and even though I've had enough practice, getting rejected still feels lousy.

The rejection was from Nimrod. I opened the envelope and found ... only the cover letter I had sent them. Nothing else. No rejection slip. No note scribbled on the page. This made me angry. They'd been sitting on my story for months, but couldn't even be bothered to remember to include a rejection slip. I wanted to write them a nasty, grouchy-person email telling them how rude this was. I wanted to get that inevitably pimple-faced, black-turtle-neck-wearing intern in trouble for sloppily forgetting to include my rejection slip. But I figured that would only make me look like a half-cocked nutcase. So I did nothing ... but post my grievance here.

Now I only have two responses outstanding. I have to remind myself: I passed a large baby head through my special place. That was so grand an accomplishment, I couldn't sit for two weeks. These rejections are nothing. When the last outstanding one comes in, I will reread and rework the story and send it out again.

Buck up, Me!

In other news from a melted brain, fellow new Brooklyn mommy Marina, mother of Miles, taught me about the "double leg pump." It's amazing. I was so thrilled after performing this action, I called Brian at work to tell him all about it. Now I'm worry that taking such joy in squeezing a baby until it farts may be a sign of complete derangement.

For the two summers in college when I worked at the Coffee Beanery, I was constantly making coffee drinks, drinking coffee, dreaming of coffee — when I could sleep — and when I lay awake at night, too caffenated to sleep, a ghost of myself would, in my mind's eye, go through the ballet of grinding beans, packing grounds, pressing buttons for single shots, double-shots, frothing milk, leaning the metal container just so to generate the optimal amount of foam.

So why, almost a decade and a half later, shouldn't I be living the waking dream of changing diaper after diaper, wiping that little dirty bum, cleaning spit-up, dressing, undressing, bouncing, feeding, feeding, feeding, poopy, poopy, fart?

Bath, Take 2

I said to myself: We're going to get in and get out.
We'll be super fast. And the worst that could happen is that he could poop on me, which has already happened.

So we took another bath today. Max didn't seem to mind nearly as much. We were quick and efficient. We got out of the tub. I wrapped him in a hooded towel, placed him on the bed, then ran back to the bathroom to quickly dry myself off.

By the time I got back into the bedroom he was smiling. God, no! I said. You're peeing on yourself, aren't you?

And he was. He peed all over his towel, which wouldn't have been so bad if it had not managed to get on our comforter as well.

Is there anything babies don't besmirch with their urine and feces and spit up and vomit and saliva? I keep trying to imagine babies in the wild. I change  Max's diaper about 8-10 times a day. What did ancient babies do? Did babies of yore run around the forest covered in their own yuck? Did cavemommies wrap their babies in leaves? Did they poop less eons ago? Or maybe everyone ran around covered in their own yuck, so it didn't much matter.

Did I mention that Max started smiling? We're now in week 8. He started smiling in earnest about a week and a half ago.

Sometimes, I'll have just fed him, and when I try to sneak off for a snack, he'll start squirming. He wants to eat ... AGAIN. I'll say, I'll beg, "Baby, please, I need to eat something. Please, I'm so hungry." But Baby will give me a face: No f*cking way. I'll start to feel trapped. Exhausted and hungry, I'll start to cry. "Please. I just need a few minutes." But then Baby pulls out one of his toothless, goofy, old man smiles, and my brain melts like a brie wheel in a toaster oven. I am hypnotized. I pull up my shirt and say, "Anything for you, Baby."

I think I finally understand how abusive relationships work.

I've taken some more pictures of our little chameleon. I am extremely proud of Max for posing as both Hall and Oates:

Believe it or not, Max appears to like being photographed. I thought he would freak out when I put the wigs on him, but he didn't seem to mind at all. And he seemed mesmerized by the flash. I guess I'll keep this silliness up as long as he seems to be enjoying himself.

Time and Fear

Everything takes longer than it should.
And if it requires even the slightest bit of brain power, it sometimes doesn't happen at all.

I rarely find a free moment to blog. Free moments are seized for showering and brushing my teeth andr standing in front of the sink, shoving food in my face. When the odd free moment occurs, and all these other necessities have been taken care of, my thoughts are so scattered, trying to write a consistent-sounding blog entry feels impossible.

Twice I stepped into the shower with my underclothes still on. Once I misplaced the mail, only to find I had put it in the fridge. And this morning, when I started pumping, I couldn't figure out why I felt like I was getting dripped on. It was because I had not hooked up the bottles and was pumping breast milk directly into my own lap.

We keep schlepping baby around, but he doesn't seem to mind much. Here are some pictures of him visiting our friends Karen and Rich and their daughter, Lucy, in Nyack:

I also took a new picture of Max all dressed up:

Here are some more pictures of Max just being Max — which means going through a wide range of emotions in the span of a few seconds:

In the meantime, several things I had feared would occur finally did. A woman complimented Brian on what a cute baby he had (he was wearing Max in a front pack), then turned to me and said, "It looks like you're expecting a little one soon as well."

I am not back to slim and trim, I know, but I was still a little surprised. Embarrassed, I said, "That one is mine. I just haven't deflated yet.

Max hates baths. I don't know why. We've tried to bathe him in three different kiddie tubs, but nothing works. He cries so hard he sounds like he's about to asphyxiate. So a couple times a week I fill the adult tub up with some lukewarm water. I climb in holding him. And I feed him, so he doesn't actually notice that he's being bathed. If there is one thing this kid likes, it's eating. Constantly.

Twice I was able to awkwardly bath/feed him without him freaking out. I was very proud of myself for being so clever. The third time, towards the end of his bath, he seemed not to hate it so much. So we stuck around a little longer. I thought, How nice! He is beginning to enjoy the water. Then he gave me a big smile and took a giant baby poop in the tub. Needless to say, things did not end well.

I still don't really feel like a parent. I feel like a phony. Or maybe like I'm babysitting. I half expect another couple to drop by and take Max back with them. It's still so hard for me to believe that this kid is ours. For the rest of our lives.

Maybe things will be different when Max starts recognizing me as something other than a walking milk bag.

Fresh Air

Max has been eating almost continuously for the past 3 days.
I'm exhausted.

Two weekends ago we visited Long Island for our friends Heather and Allison's birthdays. Last weekend we traveled by train to Ithaca to spend some more time with Heather. Here are some pictures of Max in Ithaca:

Max has been growing crazy fast. We had a doctor's appointment last week, and Max was already over 11 pounds. With his latest three days of eating, I'd bet he is near 12 now. Since technology is limited here in our home, when we want to weigh him, we do so at the local laundromat. We can no longer use the scale in the produce section of the grocery store, as it only goes up to ten pounds.

Here is a picture I took this afternoon of Chunkster taking a nap. The blanket was made by Stockyard Queen.

My life would not seem that interesting right now. Sleeping very little and changing a lot of dirty diapers. I saw this and thought it was neat. A giant pothole at the end of my block:

I could write more, but Max is bound to wake up any moment, and then this entry would never get posted. Hope all is well with you.